- Spanish Grand Prix - FP3
Massa quickest in tight final practiceChris Medland in Barcelona May 11, 2013
With a number of flying laps set late in the session on the medium compound tyre, it was Massa who edged ahead of Raikkonen, while the Red Bull of Mark Webber was third - 0.143s behind Massa. Romain Grosjean in fourth was only 0.168s off the best time, pointing to a very close qualifying session this afternoon.
Sebastian Vettel was fifth ahead of Fernando Alonso, but Alonso was the first of the front runners to set a time on the medium compound tyre and didn't get the best of the track conditions. Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil continued Force India's good form in seventh and eighth respectively ahead of Lewis Hamilton - also out early on the mediums - and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Times were close right from the start of the session, with Alonso, Grosjean and Raikkonen covered by just 0.093s during the initial hard tyre runs. Mercedes was out early in the hour and running high fuel as it looks to ensure there is no repeat of the tyre wear issues which affected Nico Rosberg so badly in Bahrain, with Rosberg himself saying on Friday that he expected the tyres to be "a big mission".
Alonso was the first front-runner on to the medium tyres and he improved in the region of 0.8s, while both Mercedes took two runs to lower their best times. However, the drivers running in the final five minutes needed only one lap to get the best out of the option compound.
McLaren continued to struggle, with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez both outside the top ten and over a second off the pace despite two new front wings having been flown and driven out to the circuit overnight.
A close battle between Caterham and Marussia seems to be emerging once again, with Charles Pic ending the session just 0.018s ahead of Jules Bianchi.
Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1