Spanish GP | Sensor issue not enough to stop Rosberg topping FP3

Final free practice at the Spanish Grand Prix topped by Nico Rosberg.

An early flyer by Nico Rosberg saw the German top the final practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix. Even when a sensor issue struck as he exited the pits for his qualifying simulation run, Hamilton and Vettel failed to overturn the deficit left by the championship leader.

Before the qualifying simulation runs at the Spanish Grand Prix unfolded, Nico Rosberg had already posted a strong 1 minute 23.078 second lap on the soft compound tyres. While Hamilton had nestled into p2, four tenths back.

Yet the joys of leading the session nearly turned to pain as Nico encountered a sensor issue as he exited the pit lane for his qualifying simulation. The moment Nico accelerated away from the pits he could tell that things were not as they should be and radioed in to inform the team as he cruised back to the pits. The sensor issue however was not serious and he returned to the track moments later.

Hamilton meanwhile had eaten three tenths into Nico’s early lead to reduce the gap to his team-mate to just one tenth. The rear of his Silver Arrow was also more stable than it appeared to be in FP2, where Rosberg also led.

FP1’s pace setter on the other moved up from a second off the pace with the mediums to go third on the yellow-walled softs. Vettel’s pace on his flyer, like Hamilton’s, too came with a better final sector than his earlier lap. Although he still lost time to Rosberg after going fastest overall through sectors one and two.

The two Williams drivers of Bottas and Massa found themselves split by three tenths of a second in seventh and 12th. While Red Bull saw their duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen split by one tenth in Max’s favour.

Friday also saw Grosjean vent his frustrations at the way in which his Haas was handling. With Romain again venting his feelings on Saturday morning, with Kevin Magnussen this time feeling the brunt of his anger after the Dane turned across Romain mid-turn five.

Grosjean; “What was that, the guy turned into me. That’s not nice.”

Pos. Driver Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg 1:23.078
2 Lewis Hamilton 1:23.204 0.126
3 Sebastian Vettel 1:23.225 0.147
4 Max Verstappen 1:23.719 0.641
5 Daniel Ricciardo 1:23.816 0.738
6 Kimi Raikkonen 1:24.110 1.032
7 Valtteri Bottas 1:24.356 1.278
8 Sergio Perez 1:24.472 1.394
9 Daniil Kvyat 1:24.553 1.475
10 Fernando Alonso 1:24.555 1.477
11 Nico Hulkenberg 1:24.585 1.507
12 Felipe Massa 1:24.621 1.543
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. 1:24.695 1.617
14 Romain Grosjean 1:24.981 1.903
15 Jenson Button 1:25.051 1.973
16 Kevin Magnussen 1:25.100 2.022
17 Esteban Gutierrez 1:25.130 2.052
18 Jolyon Palmer 1:25.376 2.298
19 Felipe Nasr 1:25.383 2.305
20 Marcus Ericsson 1:25.401 2.323
21 Pascal Wehrlein 1:26.097 3.019
22 Rio Haryanto 1:26.251 3.173