Practice Three - Kubica takes his turn at the top 23 Aug 2008
BMW Saubers Robert Kubica became the first man to dip below 1m 39s round the urban streets of Valencia on Saturday morning, when he topped the timesheets for the final practice session with a lap of 1m 38.754s. That performance came despite torrential rain overnight which washed away much of the rubber laid during Fridays sessions.
Practice Three produced the usual Saturday morning mixed bag, as some focused on fast times and others on set-up for Q3.
Right at the end Nico Rosberg joined Kubica in his select band with 1m 38.877s, and the presence of Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso in third place was indicative of the difference in strategies. The Frenchman lapped in 1m 39.009s to head Williams Kazuki Nakajima (1m 39.270), Ferraris Felipe Massa (1m 39.276s), Toro Rossos Sebastian Vettel (1m 39.300s), McLarens Lewis Hamilton (1m 39.314s), BMW Saubers Nick Heidfeld (1m 39.335s), Red Bulls David Coulthard (1m 39.421s) and Renaults Nelson Piquet (1m 39.452s).
In 11th was Mark Webber in the other Red Bull (1m 39.597s), followed by Hondas Jenson Button (1m 39.628s), Renaults Fernando Alonso (1m 39.652s), McLarens Heikki Kovalainen (1m 39.802s), Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen (1m 39.810s) Timo Glock in the Toyota (1m 39.919s), Force Indias Adrian Sutil (1m 40.019s), his team mate Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 40.059s), Hondas Rubens Barrichello (1m 40.512s) and Toyotas Jarno Trulli (who had technical problems, thought to be gearbox related, and did not record a time).
Once again there were a few incidents, Hamilton spinning late on in Turn Four, and Glock in Turn Two and both Alonso and Massa losing potentially faster laps after running wide.
Several of the places will change on Saturday afternoon in Q1 and Q2 as fuel loads are evened out, but Ferrari, McLaren and BMW Sauber all look strong.