Felipe Massa set the pace for Williams as this week’s in-season test commenced at Silverstone. The Brazilian finished ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg.
It was some small consolation for the Williams driver, whose 200th grand prix came to an abrupt end on Sunday when he was caught up in the aftermath of Kimi Raikkonen’s huge crash.
The Brazilian managed 42 laps today, split evenly across lunch as his squad fitted rakes to the car to find better aerodynamic performance.
Ricciardo, who took another impressive podium on Sunday, continued to show strong pace around the Northamptonshire circuit, the Australian ending the day 0.006s from Massa with a tally of 72 laps. Ricciardo sat at the bottom of the times at midday after working through aero testing during which he failed to register a flying lap, but he corrected the anomaly in the closing minutes of the session and finished just 0.006 behind Massa as the session ended.
Prior to Ricciardo’s late flourish, the P2 slot had been occupied for much of the afternoon by Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg. In Sunday’s Grand Prix the German completed just half of the 52-lap distance but today the championship leader posted 90 laps to finish three tenths of a second adrift of Massa, who was in turn 0.7s slower than Friday’s FP2 pace, which, like today, was run in dry conditions.
Adrian Sutil was fourth for Sauber, though the German was confined to his garage for a lengthy spell as his team were forced to change his power unit.
Jules Bianchi, who was at wheel of his Marussia car today prior taking over Raikkonen’s duties in the Ferrari F 14T tomorrow completed the day’s biggest total of laps, with 108, before an engine fire brought his day to an end.
Sixth place went to McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne, with Sergio Perez seventh. Eighth place was taken by Jean-Eric Vergne. The Frenchman had a tough day as he battled recurring battery problems. He managed just 28 laps and brought out four of the five red flags shown during the course of the day.
Pastor Maldonado was ninth for Lotus ahead of Ferrari tester Pedro de la Rosa, while the final position went to young British driver Will Stevens, who was given a full day’s test with Caterham. The Essex-born 23-year-old put 95 laps on the board, setting a personal best of 1:40.627 – less than a second of Marcus Ericsson’s time in FP2.
Silverstone In-Season Test
1. Felipe Massa Williams 1m35.242s
2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m35.248s +0.006s
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.573s +0.331s
4. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m35.674s +0.432s
5. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m36.148s +0.906s
6. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1m36.462s +1.220s
7. Sergio Perez Force India 1m36.583s +1.341s
8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m36.688s +1.446s
9. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m37.131s +1.889s
10. Pedro de la Rosa Ferrari 1m37.988s +2.746s
11. Will Stevens Caterham 1m40.627s +5.385s