Bahrain Practice 3: Rosberg tops with Red Bull duo best of the rest
21 April, 2012
Apr.21 (PVM) Nico Rosberg has a spring in his step at Sakhir and is a rejuvenated driver relishing the fact that, after 111 attempts, he is now a grand prix winner and at last having a race winning package at his disposal.
Thus it was no surprise that he topped the timing screens at the end of the final free practice session of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend with a time of 1 minute 33.254 seconds on an ever improving track at the wheel of the Mercedes AMG W03.
Behind the German it was all blue as the Red Bull pair found pace, which appears to have abandoned them so far this year, which already was evident on Friday. This time around Sebastian Vettel was second fastest, 0.147 seconds off the top time, with Mark Webber third quickest. Suggesting that the Milton Keynes squad is coming to terms with the hitherto quirky RB8.
The top three bolting on soft Pirelli tyres late on to, no doubt, get them in the qualifying frame of mind.
Up next were a trio of Mercedes powered drivers with Lewis Hamilton again fatser of the two McLaren’s with the fourth best time, fifth best Michael Schumacher over half a second down on his Mercedes teammate and Jenson Button sixth on the timing screens, perhaps not as comfortable with the MP4-27 as Hamilton at this stage of the weekend.
Improving markedly from the first day were the Lotus pair with Kimi Raikkonen setting the seventh best time, in the E20, and Romain Grosjean ninth fastest but half a second down on his teammate.
For a change a Sauber was not the fastest of the Ferrari powered brigade, neither was it a Maranello produced car, but rather Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso STR7. Setting the ninth best time, the last of the drivers within a second of Rosberg’s best.
Next up – tenth on the timing screens – was Maranello’s finest Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F2012, albeit 1.641 seconds off the top pace. Meanwhile Felipe Massa’s plight appears no better has he ended the session 16th best but over two seconds down on where he wants to be and over half a second adrift of his teammate.
Again showing strongly was Pastor Maldonado in the Williams FW34 who was 11th on the timing sheets, although Bruno Senna could only manage 17th, with a time over half a second off his Venezuelan teammate’s best.
Rosberg is going to be tough to beat for pole position, especially if he can conjure up a qualifying lap of Shanghai variety, but Vettel will be fancying his chances at top spot on the grid as will no doubt Hamilton who has been pretty mighty in qualifying this season. The scene is set, bring it on!
Free Practice 3 – Sakhir, Saturday 21 April
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:33.401||0.147|
|3||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:33.663||0.409|
|15||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:35.336||2.082|
|19||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:35.773||2.519|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:38.973||5.719|
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