Shanghai Practice 3: Alonso leads Ferrari 1-2

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso fastest before qualifying

Ferrari hogged the top two spots on the timing screen at the end of the third free practice session of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, with Fernando Alonso ending the one hour session fastest ahead of teammate Felipe Massa.

Both Ferrari driers unleashed their hot laps late in the session with Massa first going tops, and Alonso going 0.622 seconds better with his final run. The Spaniard was the only driver to dip into the 95 seconds zone around the Shanghai International Circuit in the session.

Before that Lewis Hamilton was top of the timing screens, before he was toppled down to third. It was frustration for his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg who never really got going as a hydraulic problem curtailed his session. However the German was confident that the issue would be sorted before qualifying.

Up next were the Red Bull duo with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber fourth and fifth respectively.

Adrian Sutil continued to show impressive pace. The German ending the session  sixth best, while Paul di Resta could only manage 16th and was almost a second down on his Force India teammate.

Seventh fastest and also outshining his Louts teammate was Kimi Raikkonen in seventh, while Romain Grosjean was down in 18th clearly with a problem.

McLaren pair with Jenson Button eighth and Sergio Perez ninth. Button told BBC that there were improvements in the MP4-28 since Malaysia but nothing major.

Perez meanwhile endured two excursions which ended up in the barriers and admitted honestly to BBC, “‘We don’t really understand what happened: I had a lot of wear, the front tyres were losing temperature and as soon as I hit the brakes I locked the tyres, [but I was] not pushing at that point. ‘I’m not very confident with the car and that makes things difficult. We have so many question marks, we have to analyse everything that we have done because we don’t know which direction we are going. The car is so inconsistent for us.'”

After a subdued first day Nico Hulkenberg appeared to be peaking at the right time as he rounded out the top ten, ahead of the Toro Rosso pair Jean Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo who were 11th and 12th respectively.

The performance woes appeared to continue at Williams who are struggling with the FW35. Pastor Maldonado was 13th and Valtteri Bottas 15th, but this only flattered to deceive as behind them were the likes of Rosberg, Di Resta and Grosjean who would for sure be higher up the order had they not had problems in the session.

Free Practice 3 Result, Shanghai – Friday, 12 April 2013

13Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:35.39113
24Felipe MassaFerrari1:36.0130.62211
310Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:36.0650.67418
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:36.2860.89517
52Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:36.4201.02915
615Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:36.5491.15816
77Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault1:36.6051.21416
85Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:36.6931.30216
96Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:36.7771.38616
1011Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:36.8531.46215
1118Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:37.0721.68115
1219Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:37.2051.81418
1316Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:37.3001.90911
149Nico RosbergMercedes1:37.3491.95812
1517Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:37.4572.06616
1614Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:37.4872.09613
1712Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:37.7402.34920
188Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:37.8132.42216
1922Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:38.4963.10517
2020Charles PicCaterham-Renault1:38.8213.43018
2123Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1:39.6274.23616
2221Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:39.6524.26118