With one final chance to get the cars up to speed before qualifying, Free Practice 3 at the Bahrain International Circuit was a busy 60 minutes for the team. Setup tweaks, practice pit-stops and analysis of the different tyre compounds kept the crew busy, while the drivers put in a solid performance to see both cars into the top 10
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03
- Position: P7
- Best Time: 1:33.976
- Laps Completed: 14
Romain Grosjean, E20-04
- Position: P9
- Best Time: 1:34.401
- Laps Completed: 16
Another warm start at the Bahrain International Circuit with a slight tail wind down the main straight as Kimi and Romain departed the garage for their install laps. As usual, the team opted to head out as soon as the green flags were waved, aiming to maximise track time before qualifying begins this afternoon.
Both E20s were sporting matching sets of the white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres, with a single lap to test the systems followed by the customary oil dips upon their return to the pit lane. With a fair amount of dust hanging in the air, the crew were out in the boxes with ‘leaf blowers’ removing the sand to give the drivers more traction for any practice pit stop pull-aways.
With just under 15 minutes elapsed, Kimi lead Romain out onto the circuit for the first runs of the day, beginning with practice starts at the end of the pit lane. Scrubbed mediums were the rubber of choice for both drivers as Romain set the early pace with his first flying lap, narrowly edging out his team-mate who had previously topped the times. Not to be out done, the 2007 World Champion immediately responded with an improved time as the pair traded places at the sharp end of the leader board.
Returning to base after a pair of initial 4 lap stints, it was the Frenchman who sat atop the standings with the Finn just behind. Kimi will have been glad for the dust removal strategy as he carried out a practice pull away before being wheeled back into his garage. Minor setup tweaks to both cars as the team experimented with different settings for the morning’s conditions.
At the halfway stage in the session, Romain sat in P2 with Kimi P5; just 0.8s covering the top 8 in a tightly packed field. After a quick turnaround, the Finn charged down the pit lane for his second run, followed shortly afterwards by his opposite number. 4 and 5 lap stints respectively for Kimi and Romain on medium tyres this time around, with data and setup analysis the main priority.
Another set of practice pull-aways for both drivers, before a short break to take shelter from the sun and make a few final setup adjustments. With just over 10 minutes left to run, the track transformed from a deserted stretch of tarmac to a hive of activity as the teams pushed for a final few laps and the all-important data that goes with them.
Kimi and Romain were two of the first to emerge, with both trying out the yellow marked soft compound tyres for the first time during the session. Their final stints included two practice pit-stops for each car; one mid-run and one at the end of the run, putting the mechanics through their paces before Sunday’s race. Meanwhile on track, the pace of both drivers was solid, as both E20s nestled themselves inside the top 10.
Pos--Driver------------Team/Car--------------Time-------Gap-----Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m33.254s 14 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m33.401s + 0.147s 14 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m33.663s + 0.409s 15 4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m33.782s + 0.528s 16 5. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m33.796s + 0.542s 16 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m33.899s + 0.645s 14 7. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m33.976s + 0.722s 14 8. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m34.197s + 0.943s 14 9. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m34.401s + 1.147s 16 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m34.895s + 1.641s 11 11. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m34.918s + 1.664s 12 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m34.977s + 1.723s 12 13. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.067s + 1.813s 17 14. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.128s + 1.874s 14 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m35.336s + 2.082s 22 16. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m35.536s + 2.282s 15 17. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m35.623s + 2.369s 16 18. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m35.694s + 2.440s 19 19. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m35.773s + 2.519s 21 20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m36.532s + 3.278s 17 21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m37.267s + 4.013s 18 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m37.654s + 4.400s 18 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m38.973s + 5.719s 11 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m39.221s + 5.967s 9