Practice 3 Report – Record Run
By Dan Knutson
Sebastian Vettel clocked an unofficial lap record in his Ferrari as he set the fastest lap time in Free Practice 3 for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Ferrari – Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Red Bull TAG Heuer – Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Racing Point Force India Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes –Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin; McLaren Renault – Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault – Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz; Toro Rosso Honda – Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari – Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.
Bottas was fastest on Friday with a time of 1:08.846. Hamilton was a mere 0.003 of a second slower.
“We really improved the car for the afternoon and I managed to find a rhythm,” Bottas said. Friday. “The pace seemed to be good, but it is a short track, so the margins are small. There was not a lot of tire drop-off today, but we’re expecting warmer temperatures, so we will have to wait and see if that might bring about some issues.
“It looks like it might rain tomorrow, but we’ve had a good package in the wet all year, so I don’t think that would be a big problem for us. It is very close between the top three teams, so we can’t feel satisfied about our results today; we know everyone else is going to be working on their performance overnight, so we will have to keep pushing as well.”
Leclerc was the first out on the Interlagos circuit.
Pirelli’s slick compounds were the medium, soft and super soft.
The ambient temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Centigrade).
“As Interlagos doesn’t really suit our car, our focus today will be on the race. With a few improvements on the car, I’m confident we can get the set-up where we want it,” Verstappen tweeted before going out.
Raikkonen started out with a lap in 1:09.424 on the super softs. He was one of only three drivers to set a time in the first 15 minutes.
Then Vettel came out on the supers and clocked a 1:08.857.
Hamilton took to the track. “Drive back normal pace,” the team radioed and he and pitted. The mechanics pulled off the engine cover and started to look around for some sort of problem as smoke drifted upwards. The problem turned out to be a loose oil breather pipe.
Bottas, meanwhile, was now second, 0.209 of a second slower than Vettel.
As the midpoint of FP3 approached, Hamilton, Ricciardo and Verstappen had yet to set a time. And right on the 30-minute mark Hamilton got back out there.
Hamilton’s first flying lap put him second, 0.241 of a second behind Vettel.
With 25 minutes remaining, Ricciardo started his first flying lap and jumped up to fourth while Vettel moved into fifth.
So now the usual top six were in the front: Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Raikkonen.
But now Raikkonen was on a qualifying run and did a 1:08.490 to take the lead.
Others were trying qualifying sims as well, and Vettel clocked a record 1:07.948. Bottas was runner up, full half second slower.
Now the top six, with just over 15 minutes to go, were: Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Ricciardo and Vettel.
But more qually runs were on the way. Hamilton improved, but was second and two-tenths back.
Ricciardo went faster but stayed in fifth. Verstappen then displaced him.
The top 10 at the end of FP3 ended up as: Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Grosjean, Ocon, Gasly and Leclerc.
via Grandprix.com News Feed https://www.grandprix.com
November 10, 2018 at 05:25PM