April 20th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Fernando Alonso has set the pace in Bahrain ahead of qualifying for Sunday's Grand Prix. The session was not all smooth sailing for the Ferrari driver, however, as he spun on the exit of turn 2 on a set of cold hard tyres. Alonso ended up in a shallow gravel trap, but was able to rejoin the track and return to the pits. He then put on a set of medium tyres and set the fastest lap of the session. The Red Bull pair of Vettel and Webber were second and third, underlining the pace they have shown throughout the weekend.
The times were very close, with the top 13 separated by just one second. Even the back of the field appears to have closed up a bit, with Charles Pic in the Caterham only 2.5 seconds off the pace.
There were plenty of technical problems throughout the field. Force India had to replace the rear wing on both of their cars. Max Chilton missed most of the session as the Marussia team changed the KERS water pump on his car. The other Marussia of Jules Bianchi had a small vapour fire, which set off the fire extinguishers in the car and necessitated a thorough check from the mechanics that cost Bianchi time in the session. Lewis Hamitlon had a left-rear tyre failure and what looked like suspension failure right at the end of the session. Hamilton managed to limp back to the pits, but there was visible damage to the left-rear suspension, with the wheel sitting at a very odd angle on the car.
Ahead of qualfiying, the front of the field is very close, with Ferrari, Red Bull, Lotus, Mercedes and Force India all within just a few tenths of each other. It's anybody's guess who will take pole position.
Full results of FP3:
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:33.348||0.101||15|
|3||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:33.380||0.133||19|
|7||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:33.596||0.349||17|
|8||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:33.700||0.453||15|
|20||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:36.939||3.692||16|