Sebastian Vettel emerged with the quickest time of the day as the annual F1 Young Driver Test drew to a close at Silverstone.
The defending champion took over from Carlos Sainz Jr for the final afternoon to evaluate the new Pirelli tyres that will be used for next weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix and quickly jumped to the top of the times.
A best lap of 1min 32.894secs would be good enough to see him end up top ahead of Adrian Sutil's Force India – which been quickest during the morning – and was also fast enough to see Vettel take the honours for best time of the week.
“We had three days of testing with a lot of different drivers in a lot of different cars and no failures – in conditions that were hotter than the [British] grand prix – so that's good,” he said. “Obviously, we were very limited on what we could do, but for me there is not that much difference with the tyres. It was good to get in some laps though, good to get a feeling for them and it's always nice to drive at Silverstone.”
Sutil therefore had to settle for second place with Nicolas Prost third for Lotus having been given the opportunity to carry out further running when the team decided not to give Kimi Raikkonen any track time due to the restrictions that race drivers were forced to adhere to.
On the back of his impressive run with Toro Rosso on Thursday, Sainz Jr was fourth quickest, albeit without bettering his time from the previous day, while Ferrari test driver Davide Rigon managed to edge out race driver Felipe Massa for fifth; Massa having run in the morning before handing the car over to the Scuderia's
test driver for the afternoon.
“The past three days have been positive, as I didn't make any mistakes and I learned a lot,” Rigon admitted. “I hope that all the work will have given the team some useful data, maybe some that can be used to prepare for the upcoming races. Again today, we were not concerned with lap times, nor did we make big changes. Instead, we concentrated on adapting the set-up to the new tyres.
“Now this information will be passed on to our colleagues at the simulator. I think this test has been very useful for my work and also my personal experience, even though I don't see it as finite, neither for me nor the car because there are no limits to improvement.”
Jean-Eric Vergne's morning run in the Toro Rosso was good enough for seventh ahead of the McLaren of Gary Paffett, with the DTM racer bouncing back from an engine issue during the morning to complete well over 70 laps.
Behind him, Susie Wolff enjoyed a solid day for Williams as she conducted her first proper F1 test, running through a series of aerodynamic evaluations during the morning and then improving her time in the afternoon to end up just 2.2secs off the outright pace.
“Susie did a great job for us today,” chief engineer Xevi Pujolar said. “We did some aero tests this morning while she familiarised herself with the car and then we moved onto some performance and development work with her. In the afternoon we combined some general running with live pitstop practice, which is an area we are keen to improve ahead of the next race.
“We made some good progress and Susie was good at stopping on the mark every time. Overall we have had a successful test, gathering lots of data to take back to the wind tunnel and have some experience to know what to expect from the tyres in Budapest.”
Giedo van der Garde was tenth for Caterham ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Charles Pic, with Kimiya Sato 13th on a full-day on track for Sauber.
Marussia drivers Rodolfo Gonzalez and Jules Bianchi then sat at the bottom of the times having both had off-track excursions, with James Calado splitting the pair having replaced di Resta for a quick six lap run for Force India late in the day.
“After an improved day yesterday we have again encountered a few frustrations today,” Marussia boss John Booth admitted. “Rodolfo worked more on performance runs for his development this morning and that has certainly given him more experience of new tyres, something that he doesn't get to experience during FP1 sessions. We also finished off working on some control system development before returning the car to a standard specification for the Pirelli tyre testing with Jules this afternoon.
“We completed one test and were about to move on to the second, but unfortunately we suffered a car problem. Jules has gathered valuable data on the hard and medium compounds, which will be useful race information. Unfortunately he didn't get to complete the programme, including running the soft compound, but we are pleased to have gathered good data for Pirelli and we're now looking forward to Budapest next week.”
To view day three times, CLICK HERE
To view day combined times, CLICK HERE