After Friday‘s running in dry conditions, the teams and drivers faced the damp conditions out on track for the third free practice session. If the track does not dry up in time for qualifying later today, this session will prove to be vital as they looked for the best wet weather set up. The driver who appeared to fare best in the wet conditions was Sebastian Vettel who set the fastest lap, ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
As the green light flicked on to mark the start of the session, Adrian Sutil in his Sauber was the first to venture out on track. With the wet weather conditions, the track temperature was at 20 degrees celsius. In both free practice sessions yesterday, drivers were struggling to get heat into the harder compound tyres on the early laps. If the track temperature remains similar to this, drivers may struggle to get faster laps in on the slick tyres if conditions improve sufficiently.
Keeping with the track conditions, in the opening minuets of the session, some drivers opted to carry out there installation laps on the intermediate tyres. Jenson Button was one of the drivers on the intermediate tyres at this stage, and noticed there were some dry patches on track. Additionally, Valtteri Bottas felt that the track conditions were better than he was expecting.
The first timed laps on the board didn’t appear until 17 minuets into the session with most drivers remaining in the pits. When there is a wet third free practice, you can usually expect the teams to be reluctant to send their drivers out on track as they wouldn’t want to be forced into repairing the car between the end of FP3 and qualifying. But it also means you can save the intermediate and wet tyres, which could give you a big advantage in qualifying.
But the first times posted came courtesy of the Caterham pair, Ericsson and Kobayashi before they were joined by the two Toro Rosso’s and the Marussia of Bianchi.
Unfortunately for the other Marussia driver, Max Chilton, he has been forced into taking a five place grid penalty ahead of qualifying today due to a necessary gear box change. As this should rule him out for the rest of the session, he will go into qualifying not only knowing he will start at the back of the grid barring any surprises, but with a lot less knowledge of how the car performs on a wet Silverstone track.
For Romain Grosjean, he appeared to be struggling through the final corner with his Lotus. One on occasion he ran slightly off-line through Club and almost performed a drift in order to stay in control of his car. But a few laps later Grosjean had another moment on the exit of club as he once again ran wide and onto the green painted section. Sending Romain into a spin. It took great control from Grosjean to keep his car out of the pit lane wall. Just releasing the breaks at the precise moment he could turn the front away from the wall.
As the session entered the final seventeen minuets the track conditions appeared to deteriorate further, and the FIA opted to disable the DRS. But things were about to get worse for Marussia, who already were a driver done for the session.
For Jules Bianchi, he brought his session to a close after going off and into the barrier at Stowe. This corner had caught a few drivers out across the session but most were able to stay out of the barrier and continue on their ways. But for the Frenchman, he was unable to slow down in time and ended up bumping the barrier. The gravel trap appeared to slow him down enough to minimise the damage, but he still ended up with a broken front wing.
When the chequered flag fell to mark the end of the session most drivers were sitting in the pits so Sebastian Vettel’s 1:52:522 would not be challenged for the fastest lap time. Daniel Ricciardo finished in second place to make it a Red Bull one-two. This looks good for Red Bull but it will be interesting to see how the Mercedes pair and Fernando Alonso can do later today after not setting a FP3 time. Moreover, the top four cars in FP3 were all Renault powered drivers with Lotus finishing in third and fourth behind Red Bull.
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:52.522||6|
|2||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:52.631||0.109||6|
|14||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:55.688||3.166||6|
|15||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:56.918||4.396||7|