Ferrari or Mercedes? Who will secure the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA PIRELLI 2017 pole position? So far, the two leading teams are head-to-head: the Brackley crowd came out on top on Friday, with a Hamilton-Bottas1-2; but Saturday’s Free Practice 3 fell in the hands of the Maranello Scuderia, with Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel leading the pack.
The Finn put together a 1:20.214 hot lap on the soft tyre. Sebastian Vettel completed only three laps on the soft compound, for a best of 1:20.456 (+0.242s). After some issues with the SF70H tyres on Friday, further mechanical troubles dogged Vettel, reducing his total lap count to just seven.
Mercedes had more than enough on their plate as well. Engineers and mechanics stayed in for a night shift –and used up one of the seasonal two permits to work during the 00:00 a 08:00 curfew- to repair an electrical failure in Bottas car. The power unit was eventually replaced by the one the Russian GP winner used in the last four races, and the Finn was able to hit the track with only 8 minutes to go. Despite his short practice, he finished 4th fastest on 1:20.868, just 0.654s off Vettel’s time and 0.273s slower than Hamilton.
The Briton was the fastest man in yesterday practice and had a short 12-lap session today, for a fastest 1:20.595 lap, 0.381s up on Räikkönen. Hamilton –unlike Bottas- will enjoy the latest updates on the Mercedes power unit, plausibly giving him an edge in the qualifying session.
The Red Bull team wound up 5th and 6th fastest, after Max Verstappen (1:21.025) missed almost half of the session due to an assembly problem in his RB13. Daniel Ricciardo trailed him on 1:21.249.
Local crowds relished to watch significant improvements in the McLaren Honda stable, with Fernando Alonso putting together a decent 1:22.093 lap for a hopeful 10th. Will he be able to stay up there and clinch his first Q3 spot in the season? Right ahead of him, Carlos Sainz posted a fastest 1:21.835 lap for a 9th finish, a slight improvement on yesterday’s performance. The two Spaniards share the common goal of earning a Q3 place at today’s qualifying session, starting at 2 pm.