Belgian GP FP3: Alonso sets the early pace

The final practice was so vital that the teams tried to make up the time lost on the whole of Friday. With just four minutes gone Jean-Eric Vergne set the first timed lap of the morning. An hour of dry running was in the hands as the track looked beautiful on Autumn sunshine – typical nature of Spa. The pitlane got busy as timed laps were set in quick succession with Mark Webber taking over from Vergne while Bruno Senna tucked behind ahead of team-mate Maldonado and Schumacher. Bruno went on improving his time in all three sectors to go fastest by three seconds.

Misery struck for Rosberg as he pulled off the car in the sidelines when his gearbox relented to downshift. No real action from any of the Ferraris and Hamilton yet. Alonso’s car looked neat and tidy from the front and since opted for smaller rear wing, they might be onto gathering straight-line speed. Works were taken place to clear off the Flo-viz. Bruno Senna improved on his best time on the top ahead of Timo Glock’s Marussia. Felipe and Fernando headed out for timed runs with Massa scuffling to subdue his rear and a mistake from Alonso put them right behind Senna – second and third respectively.

No more mistakes this time as Alonso went quickest on mediums to Massa’s hard tyre run putting him where he was. Jenson reported as he always had balance issues on his Mclaren. Frustrated Schumacher had been hampered by HRT in whole of a lap. At the half-way mark, Vettel placed himself in seventh and Raikkonen was left at the back-pack in fourteenth.

Kovaleinen said to have DRS issues on his Caterham. Sergio Perez took the lead out of the Ferrari, in the same way, Kobayashi did as he slotted himself half a second adrift of Perez. Race to qualifying was hotting up as Grosjean tipped Perez to move up top. As the top 14 drivers separated by just a second, Webber and Vettel shackle the top positions. Apparently, Michael’s pace in the first and last sector was competitive but losing half a second in the twisty middle part worried the team. Under ten minutes to windup the session, Sergio pulled off a brilliant lap to top the timing sheets again from Webber.

In the end as the clock ticking away, Alonso took his Ferrari to the core of performance and lead the way with three tenths quicker than anybody else. Raikkonen was a bit timid all day but got a good lap to finish a tenth slower than Alonso in the final practice of Spa ahead of Saubers and Jenson Button. Battle beckons for q3 birth between Force India and Sauber but the unknown fuel loads the teams had run left us puzzling till qualifying.

Practice three results:

1) Alonso 2) Raikkonen 3) Perez 4) Kobayashi 5) Button 6) Massa 7) Webber 8) Grosjean 9) Vettel 10) Di Resta 11) Maladonado 12) Hamilton 13) Schumacher 14) Hulkenberg 15) Vergne 16) Ricciardo 17) Senna 18) Kovalainen 19) Pic 20) Glock 21) Petrov 22) De la Rosa 23) Karthikeyan 24) Rosberg

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