After going fastest in both sessions on Friday, Lewis Hamilton completed his Chinese Grand Prix preparations by topping the times in the third and final practice session.
Having experienced a stiff challenge from Ferrari in Friday’s second free practice session, Mercedes went back to finishing in first and second as they did in FP1. Hamilton finished up just two tenths of a second faster than team-mate Nico Rosberg. Ferrari continued to be the Silver Arrows’ closest rival ending the session in third and fourth.
Following positive running yesterday, when they finished 10th and 12th in FP2, McLaren had a disappointing FP3 when Fernando Alonso’s running came to an end on his out-lap. His car reportedly has an engine ignition problem which the team were positive of fixing before qualifying started. Team-mate Jenson Button ended the session 15th still two seconds back on Mercedes. Hamilton complained of his seat getting too hot – a problem he encountered on Friday – while Felipe Massa had to deal with smoke in the cockpit. Following Daniil Kvyat’s brake failure yesterday Red Bull suffered more brake problems but the team managed to finish fifth and sixth.
Hamilton’s run in the first half of the session was enough to see him top the times but he went faster still on the soft tyres, beating his team-mate’s best time. Sebastian Vettel’s best time was sixth tenths off the leading Mercedes while Kimi Raikkonen finished two tenths back from that. Daniel Ricciardo and Kvyat finished fifth and sixth ahead of Carlos Sainz, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean. In the latter half of the field Felipe Massa was 11th, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, – who complained about the tyre degradation during the session – Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr and Button. Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez, Will Stevens, and Roberto Merhi rounded out the drivers to set a time.
Times from the third and final free practice session:
- Lewis Hamilton – 1:37.615 – 14 laps
- Nico Rosberg – 1:37.841 – 16 laps
- Sebastian Vettel – 1:38.313 – 17 laps
- Kimi Raikkonen – 1:38.512 – 16 laps
- Daniel Ricciardo – 1:39.020 – 8 laps
- Daniil Kvyat – 1:39.106 – 14 laps
- Carlos Sainz – 1:39.113 – 17 laps
- Valtteri Bottas – 1:39.243 – 15 laps
- Max Verstappen – 1:39.274 – 19 laps
- Romain Grosjean – 1:39.405 – 14 laps
- Felipe Massa – 1:39.410 – 17 laps
- Nico Hulkenberg – 1:39.513 – 14 laps
- Marcus Ericsson – 1:39.559 – 18 laps
- Felipe Nasr – 1:39.591 – 19 laps
- Jenson Button – 1:39.694 – 16 laps
- Pastor Maldonado – 1:39.766 – 16 laps
- Sergio Perez – 1:39.781 – 17 laps
- Will Stevens – 1:42.928 – 15 laps
- Roberto Merhi – 1:44.956 – 9 laps
- Fernando Alonso – No Time Set