Ahead of qualifying Lewis Hamilton retained the upper hand in the final free practice session of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, scorching around the Ile Notre dame track half a second faster than anyone else as Mercedes continued to set the pace as they look to make history on Sunday.
Ironically Hamilton set his best lap time of 1:15.610 on the soft Pirelli (yellow band) tyres, not the super-soft options from which most teams managed to extract a further half second or so – but neither Mercedes could match that difference with the red band Pirellis.
Nico Rosberg was third fastest, but on both the super-softs and softs he was about half a second down on his teammate – the difference between the two at the venue is that Hamilton has three grand prix wins at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, while Rosberg has never finished better than fourth at the venue…
The fact that neither Hamilton or Rosberg improved their times with the supposedly faster tyre option suggests one of two things: the W05 cannot maximise the super-softs or, more likely, the pair have more than they are showing in their armoury and are keeping the powder dry for when fireworks are required – starting with qualifying.
Splitting the Silver Arrows at the top of the timing screens was Felipe Massa in the ice white Williams, who were enjoying good form on a track that clearly suits their car. Valterri Bottas was seventh fastest, about a second down on his Brazilian teammate.
Fernando Alonso was best of the Ferrari pair with the fourth fastest time, with Kimi Raikkonen sixth fastest. The Maranello chaps split by Daniel Ricciardo who set the fifth best time in the Red Bull, while teammate Sebastian Vettel was hampered what appeared to be a brake issue which curtailed his running in the one hour session.
Impressing in his first grand prix weekend in Canada was Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat who ended eighth fastest, fractionally faster than teammate Jean Eric Vergne who was ninth.
The session was marred when Esteban Gutierrez spun out in Turn 3 and slammed into the wall at the exit of Turn 4 causing substantial damage to his Sauber.
FP3 was typical of sessions at the venue with small mistakes punished with big moments, several drivers spun or over shot various braking points which could well carry over into qualifying in the afternoon, and the race itself. (GP247)Canadian Grand Prix, Free Practice 3 – Saturday, 6 July 2014
|5||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:16.504||0.894||15|
|10||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:16.884||1.274||15|
|11||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.944||1.334||17|
|14||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:17.188||1.578||19|