Massa makes his mark in Montmeló

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Ferrari driver fastest in FP3 ahead of Raikkonen and Webber.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa topped the final practice timesheet ahead of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix with a time of 1:21.901 at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Brazilian just edged Kimi Raikkonen, the Lotus driver ending the one-hour session just six thousandths of a second behind the Ferrari man. Third place went to Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, who finished the final practice session 0.143 adrift of Massa’s benchmark.

Fourth place was taken by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, while Sebastian Vettel finished with the morning’s fifth-fastest time, a lap of 1:22.229, just over three tenths adrift of P1.

A straightforward session, run in dry conditions, saw the drivers spend the first half hours concentrating on the hard compound tyre and it was Fernando Alonso who held sway on the harder of the two Pirelli compounds on offer. The Spaniard’s lap of 1:23.006, set after 25 minutes, was good enough to keep control of proceedings until the switch to mediums began with 25 minutes remaining.

Even then Alonso stayed at the top, his opening time on mediums bettering his hard tyre standard by seven tenths. Mercedes Nico Rosberg, by far the busiest man on track with 26 laps, briefly climbed to P2 with his first run on the medium compound but he quickly dropped down the order as the rest of the field strapped on the quicker tyre as the session wound down. The German finished in 11th place.

After his early dominance Alonso settled for sixth place in the end. The local hero was then followed by the Force Indias of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil. Lewis Hamilton was ninth and the top 10 was rounded out by Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.


2013 Spanish Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Times

1 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:21.901
2 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1:21.907 +0.006
3 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1:22.044 +0.143          
4 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:22.069 +0.168          
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:22.229 +0.328
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:22.254 +0.353
7 Paul di Resta Force India 1:22.574 +0.673
8 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:22.729 +0.828
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.740 +0.839
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:22.759 +0.858
11 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.839 +0.938
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:23.151 +1.250
13 Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber 1:23.371 +1.470
14 Sergio Pérez McLaren 1:23.373 +1.472
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:23.385 +1.484
16 Nico Hülkenberg Sauber 1:23.388 +1.487     
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.660 +1.759
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:23.767 +1.866
19 Charles Pic Caterham 1:24.775 +2.874
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:24.793 +2.892
21 Max Chilton Marussia 1:25.135 +3.234
22 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:25.250 +3.349