Sakhir, FP3: Alonso moves ahead in final practice

Alonso outpaces Vettel in final practice

By Franck Drui

20 April 2013 - 11:10
Sakhir, FP3: Alonso moves ahead in (...)

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso beat Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel to the top of the timesheet in the final free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Most of the hour-long session was spent on the hard tyre compound, with Vettel bossing proceedings with a lap of 1:33.348 set after half an hour. And when the field began to move on to the medium tyre, the defending champion’s P1 time remained the benchmark. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton went closest to the Red Bull Racing man’s time with a lap of 1:33.455 on the quicker tyre.

It was only when Alonso bolted on a set of medium tyres in the last 10 minutes of the session that Vettel’s time was eclipsed. The Ferrari driver immediately logged a best lap of 1:33.247 to bump Vettel to P2, with Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber third, 0.133 adrift of top spot with his best lap on medium tyres.

Vettel, though, had emerged from pit lane on medium tyres and set about chasing down an improvement. The lap didn’t come together, however, as traffic in the final sector forced him to back off, with the result that Alonso’s lap stood.

It was a similar story across the track in the closing moments. With most of the field circling as the clock ticked down, few of the front runners were able to get the best out of their medium tyre runs, with the result that the order remained largely static by the time the chequered flag was displayed.

In the end, Alonso held top spot, ahead of the Red Bull Racing pair. Kimi Raikkonen was third for Lotus ahead of Hamilton, Romain Grosjean and Adrian Sutil, who took P7 for Force India. The top ten order was completed by Paul Di Resta, Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg.

The major drama of the session came right at the end of the hour when Lewis Hamilton got on the radio and informed his Mercedes crew that he had a problem with the rear left of the car. The Briton was forced to limp back to the pits with what looked like a broken suspension.

There was trouble too for Max Chilton. The Marussia driver was forced to sit out the second half of the session as mechanics worked to repair a water pump on his car’s KERS unit.

01 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:32.247 12
02 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 1:33.348 +0.101 15
03 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 1:33.380 +0.133 19
04 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 1:33.446 +0.199 21
05 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:33.455 +0.208 19
06 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1:33.464 +0.217 19
07 Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes 1:33.596 +0.349 17
08 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 1:33.700 +0.453 15
09 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG 1:33.764 +0.517 19
10 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber Ferrari 1:33.922 +0.675 17
11 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:33.949 +0.702 20
12 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 1:34.117 +0.870 17
13 Sergio Perez McLaren Mercedes 1:34.282 +1.035 18
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:34.577 +1.330 16
15 Valtteri Bottas Williams Renault 1:34.611 +1.364 17
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:34.678 +1.431 16
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 1:34.833 +1.586 17
18 Charles Pic Caterham Renault 1:35.816 +2.569 16
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia Cosworth 1:36.731 +3.484 17
20 Giedo Van der Garde Caterham Renault 1:36.939 +3.692 16
21 Max Chilton Marussia Cosworth 1:37.630 +4.383 7
22 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari 1:39.592 +6.345 29


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