For the second time this weekend, a free practice session for the German Grand Prix was topped by Nico Rosberg. Rosberg managed to be the only driver to set a lap time in the 1:17’s at the Hockenheimring which saw him secure the top spot with a sizeable margin back to his team-mate.
Going into Saturday, Mercedes had topped both FP1 and FP2 sessions. But they only by a slim margin back to the field. Friday also saw the temperatures reach highs of 58 degrees Celsius out on track, with no signs of that easing up for Saturday. As come the start of FP3 the track had already reached 43 degrees Celsius, with the ambient temperature reaching 28.
When the final free practice session for the German Grand Prix got underway only a handful of drivers ventured out in the early minuets. Last year’s German Grand Prix winner at the Nurburgring, Sebastian Vettel, was one of those to hit the track early. In the previous years that the race has been held at the Hockenheimring, Vettel has never won. Another German yet to win at the Hockenheimring, Rosberg, has actually never finished on the podium in any race in Germany. With the battle for the drivers championship being just four points ahead of this weeks race, Nico will need to rectify that in order to maintain his lead.
For this weekends race, McLaren will be looking for a stronger result than they were possibly expecting, after the team has opted to use their gearbox ratio joker card. This in order to change the pre-set gear ratios the team had chosen at the start of the season. In the early FP3 stages it appeared that this had given them some gain as Magnussen set the first lap in the 1 minuet 19’s.
Turn one was proving to be a challenge for some of the drivers today. Sebastian Vettel was one of those to struggle to get their car turned in at turn one on numerous occasions. Other drivers to run wide at turn one included Grosjean and Kvyat.
Down at Ferrari, Raikkonen suffered another issue with his car. Yesterday there was a water pump problem with his Ferrari, today however it was a fuel system problem. Luckily for the Finn, Ferrari managed to fix the issue and he was back out on track a few minuets later. When Kimi returned to the track he was the first to change to the supersoft tyres and saw his first lap time rocket him to the top spot after a 1:18:842. The first 1:18 of the day. Unfortunately for Kimi, this would not be the end of the fuel system issue he suffered as he was later forced to finish his session early. Ferrari opted to bring Kimi back to the pits so that they can change a part related to the fuel pump, in order to avoid any problems in qualifying.
After Kimi’s FP3 session coming to an end, Marcus Ericsson joined him on the sidelines as the other drivers changed for the supersofts, Caterham say that Ericsson had a hydraulics issue. But for the drivers still running out on track Rosberg went top of the time sheets once on the red marked tyres. The supersoft tyres were helping the drivers to find a lot of time. However drivers appeared to be struggling in the final sector.
But for Rosberg, his timed lap that saw him go P1 was the first lap of the day to break into the 1:17’s. His lap time of 1:17:779 was actually over 6 tenths of a second better than his team-mates at this stage. With Lewis loosing 3 tenths of a second to Rosberg during the middle sector.
Come the chequered flag, no one could get near Nico’s lap time and for the third time this weekend, the session ended with a Mercedes one-two. Like yesterday, the gap back to third place was extremely slim with Alonso finishing in 3rd place, just 4 thousandths of a second behind Hamilton.
|7||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:18.769||0.990||13|
|9||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:18.890||1.111||17|
|10||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:19.127||1.348||19|
|14||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:19.505||1.726||21|