Just when everyone thought Red Bull were in trouble…up pops Sebastian Vettel with a time marginally quicker than anyone else! The German waited until the final minutes of FP3 to bolt on the quicker, medium compound Pirelli tyres which he used to good effect, putting Lewis Hamilton in the shade to the tune of +0.133 of a second.
Adrian Sutil made it three Germans in the top 3 by nipping at Hamilton’s heels, with Mark Webber rounding out the top four despite serious tyre woes for the Red Bull duo earlier in the session.
Kimi Raikkonen was 5th for Lotus, complaining his car felt ‘different’ and had ‘changed a lot’ since yesterday, the Melbourne winner sitting some 0.3 off the pace of Vettel. Paul Di Resta was just 0.001 behind Raikkonen, but the real surprise of the session was McLaren and Jenson Button who set the 7th fastest time, themselves just 0.3 down on the fastest after a torrid week so far.
Ferrari by contrast appeared to struggle, Massa and Alonso managing only 8th and 10th while sandwiching the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg; the German appeared to have difficulty compared to team-mate Hamilton when it came to setting up his car today. Similarly Sergio Perez blistered his softer medium compound tyres before he could get a good time from them, ending the day 1.1 behind Vettel’s time. Nico Hulkenberg sneaked ahead of the struggling Romain Grosjean, who was ahead of Valtteri Bottas (Maldonado was 11th fastest).
The Sauber of Gutierrez and the Caterham and Marussia teams brought up the rear with Max Chilton once again finishing the session in 22nd and last place.
|1||Sebastian VETTEL||Red Bull||1:36:435|
|3||Adrian SUTIL||Force India||+0.153|
|4||Mark WEBBER||Red Bull||+0.178|
|6||Paul DI RESTA||Force India||+0.372|
|17||Jean Eric VERGNE||Toro Rosso||+1.948|
|18||Daniel RICCIARDO||Toro Rosso||+1.990|
|21||Giedo VAN DER GARDE||Caterham||+3.774|