Spanish GP 2017: Raikkonen tops FP3

Having seen Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes enjoy a perfect Friday, Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari bounced back, with the Finn taking top spot in this morning's final Free Practice session, ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton.

Raikkonen's time of a 1:20.214 was enough to see off the rest of the field, two-tenths faster than Vettel, and a further tenth ahead of Hamilton.

Bottas hits problems

But, whilst Hamilton battled with the Ferraris, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas endured an entirely different session. Despite a full Power Unit change overnight, an electrical problem transformed into a water leak this morning, prompting a change back to the engine that propelled him for the first four races. It meant that he only emerged from the garage with eight minutes to go; but still set the fourth fastest time of the session.

Bottas eventually got out. | Photo: Getty Images/David Ramos
Bottas eventually got out. | Photo: Getty Images/David Ramos

On the contrary, Fernando Alonso enjoyed a rarity - a clean session in the usually ailing McLaren, managing to set times on all the compounds - ending up just inside the top 10, under two seconds off the ultimate pace. Are his Friday woes behind him? His teammate Stoffel Vandoorne struggled, languishing in 19th.

Raikkonen got to work straight away, setting the two fastest times of the session on the medium tyre, one after the other. A 1:22.409 was enough to see everyone else off, with Hamilton the best of the rest, three-tenths adrift. However, it wasn't all plain sailing for the Finn, as he reported a lack of front end grip.

Although, most of the slides from yesterday weren't repeated, with Pirelli dropping the tyre pressures.

Ferrari lead Qualifying runs

The final 20 minutes of the session saw attentions moved to low fuel and soft tyre runs. Once again, it was Raikkonen who led the way, eclipsing Hamilton's time from yesterday by six-tenths. And despite Hamilton also improving on his Friday afternoon time, he was pushed out of the top two by Vettel. Behind the top four, Red Bull claimed another fifth/sixth combination, with Nico Hulkenberg's Renault in close company.

Hulkenberg has shown promising pace all weekend thus far. | Photo: Getty Images/Dan Istitene
Hulkenberg has shown promising pace all weekend thus far. | Photo: Getty Images/Dan Istitene

Vettel had his problems, albeit undefined. In the last 10 minutes, he ground to a halt in the pit lane on a new set of soft tyres, and had to be rescued by his mechanics.

So, after a Friday dominated by the two Silver Arrows, Saturday was shaping up to be a different story, as Ferrari flicked a switch.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Kimi RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1:20.214 - 20
2 Sebastian VETTEL Ferrari 1:20.456 +0.242 7
3 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes 1:20.595 +0.381 12
4 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes 1:20.868 +0.654 7
5 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull 1:21.025 +0.811 14
6 Daniel RICCIARDO Red Bull 1:21.249 +1.035 15
7 Nico HULKENBERG Renault 1:21.670 +1.456 13
8 Felipe MASSA Williams 1:21.746 +1.532 19
9 Carlos SAINZ Toro Rosso 1:21.835 +1.621 18
10 Fernando ALONSO McLaren 1:22.093 +1.879 16
11 Romain GROSJEAN Haas 1:22.128 +1.914 21
12 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas 1:22.214 +2.000 12
13 Sergio PEREZ Force India 1:22.237 +2.023 19
14 Esteban OCON Force India 1:22.297 +2.083 22
15 Daniil KVYAT Toro Rosso 1:22.391 +2.177 15
16 Marcus ERICSSON Sauber 1:22.513 +2.299 20
17 Lance STROLL Williams 1:22.574 +2.360 19
18 Jolyon PALMER Renault 1:22.755 +2.541 13
19 Stoffel VANDOORNE McLaren 1:22.853 +2.639 15
20 Pascal WEHRLEIN Sauber 1:22.974 +2.760 19