After yesterday’s practice, it was all about Lotus, specifically Raikkonen, with Ferrari as the main chasers. Red Bull were going to be thereabouts, but Mercedes most probably weren’t. Then Mercedes did some long runs in FP3, which suggested that they had some serious work to do before the race.
Now those runs were faster than their FP2 runs. Much faster. So the most appropriate guess was that they were running a second stint fuel load. Nothing doing.
Then cam qualifying and the front-row lockout. So what if they figured out how to look after the tyres overnight, and the pace in FP3 is genuine? Well, I’ve added the Saturday runs to yesterday’s runs from FP2 and I get this:
The pace is fast. Rosberg is marginally behind Raikkonen, and on a longer stint. Hamilton is as fast as Massa at the start, and just behind Ferrari on end-stint pace. If this is really first stint fuel load, then they could do it. It could be an amazing bit of Friday night analysis in Brackley, and the qualifying performance was very impressive. So you never know.
My money is still on Kimi, though…