• British Grand Prix - FP3

Mercedes dominant over one lap ahead of qualifying

ESPN Staff
June 29, 2013
Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets again during final practice © Sutton Images
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Mercedes topped the final practice session for the British Grand Prix with Nico Rosberg leading the way ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Once again Mercedes look favourite for pole position, with Hamilton 0.146s off Rosberg but over 0.4s clear of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in third. Mark Webber was fourth, within striking distance of his team-mate, but had one of his medium tyre laps tempered by a yellow flag.

The most dramatic moment in the session came when Sergio Perez had a tyre failure exiting Copse. His left rear hard compound tyre appeared to explode on the exit of the corner, damaging the floor of the car and forcing him to crawl back to the pits on three wheels. Perez did return to the track on medium tyres at the end of the session but caused the aforementioned yellow flag when he lost the rear of his car at Becketts. He failed to set a competitive time and ended the hour 18th.

Fifth fastest but 0.9s off the pace of the Mercedes was Romain Grosjean, who just edged Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso to best of the rest. Fernando Alonso was seventh fastest and nearly a full second off the Mercedes of Rosberg but just ahead of title rival Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen continued to run Lotus' drag reduction device and used the medium tyres for the first time after concentrating solely on the hard compounds on Friday. The Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta rounded off the top ten and were split by 0.035s. Jean-Eric Vergne was eleventh fastest, but to demonstrate how close the cars from fifth to eleventh were, he was just 0.140s off the pace of his Toro Rosso team-mate (and rival for a 2014 Red Bull drive) Ricciardo.

After a disappointing Friday, Jenson Button's fortunes do not look set to change as he again clocked a time 1.5s off Rosberg and had to settle for 12th. Williams showed a glimmer of hope with Pastor Maldonado in 13th ahead of Nico Hulkenberg's Sauber.

Felipe Massa's weekend took another turn for the worse after his accident on Friday, as Ferrari was forced to make a precautionary engine change before he could sample the medium tyres. As a result he dropped to 15th by the end of the session.