Formula 1 News

Webber fastest in final practice in Brazil

Mark Webber set the pace in a very wet third practice session at Interlagos, ahead of the Lotus pair of Romain Grosjean and Heikki Kovalainen
Saturday, November 23, 2013

November 23rd, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Mark Webber topped the times in his last ever Formula One practice session, at Interlagos in Brazil. The Australian completed only five laps in the 60-minute session, but that was enough to secure him the top spot. Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Heikki Kovalainen were second and third fastest ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

It was a very quiet session, as most of the teams concentrated on saving tyres for qualifying and the race. Going into today, most of the teams will have had two fresh sets of full wet tyres and one slightly used set from Friday's FP2, as well as four fresh sets of intermediate tyres. Those tyres must last them the rest of the weekend if it stays wet, which made preservation of fresh tyres crucial in FP3.

For the majority of the session, the track was wet enough that full wets were the only sensible tyres to use. Sebastian Vettel set the early pace before returning to the Red Bull garage and sitting out the rest of the session. 

The first half of the session saw a fair number of drivers doing short runs or just practice starts before returning to the pits. Max Chilton spent a bit of time getting used to the track, which he had never driven before Friday. Chilton held an impressive slide in turn 4 before carrying on with his run.

Only Esteban Gutierrez covered what might be considered a "normal" amount of running in the session. The Mexican driver covered 21 laps in his Sauber, clearly feeling the need to spend a significant amount of time on track.

When the track dried out enough for intermediate tyres, there was a bit more action on track, and quite a few drivers emerged from the pit lane to acclimatise to the difficult conditions ahead of qualifying. Mark Webber easily set the pace for Red Bull, at one point over 2 seconds faster than the competition. But that was more to do with timing of laps in the conditions than outright pace. The other drivers who had elected to run on the intermediate tyres soon closed the gap to Webber to a reasonable degree.

Four drivers - Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and Friday's pace-setter Nico Rosberg - did not bother to set lap times at all. They were presumably comfortable that they had learned enough about the conditions on their installation laps and no doubt also wanted to save their tyres for qualifying and the race.

Full resutls from FP3:

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:27.891   5
2 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:28.195 0.304 5
3 7 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1:28.595 0.704 6
4 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:28.600 0.709 12
5 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:28.830 0.939 15
6 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:28.921 1.030 5
7 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:29.215 1.324 21
8 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:29.686 1.795 10
9 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:29.736 1.845 6
10 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:29.913 2.022 8
11 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29.980 2.089 8
12 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:29.988 2.097 9
13 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:30.635 2.744 9
14 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:30.837 2.946 14
15 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:30.972 3.081 10
16 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:31.154 3.263 14
17 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:31.857 3.966 4
18 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.731 4.840 4
19 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes No time   4
20 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari No time   2
21 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes No time   1
22 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari No time   2


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