Practice 3: Webber reminds all he is around
24 September, 2011
(Reuters & PVM) – Mark Webber kept Red Bull on course for a 14th pole position in as many races this season when he lapped fastest in final free practice for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday.
With his team mate grabbing most of the attention and and off track, the Australian did the business in the final free practice of the weekend, ahead of the all important qualifying session.
Webber lapped the floodlit 5.073-km Marina Bay Circuit in one minute 46.081 seconds on a dry night in the southeast Asian city-state.
McLaren’s Jenson Button, who endured a miserable two sessions on Friday, split the Red Bulls with a fastest lap just 0.027 seconds slower but was easily the smoothest driver out there in the early evening.
In contrast Sebastian Vettel was flinging ‘Kinky Kylie’ around Marina Bay, flirting precariously with the cement walls that line the street circuit.
He ended the session third fastest, a quarter of a second down on his team mate, however he will be pointing to traffic which no doubt baulked him during his final flying lap stint.
Vettel, who can become Formula One’s youngest double world champion this weekend with five rounds still remaining, was third fastest in 1:46.345.
Vettel has converted 10 pole positions into eight wins this season and will again be a favourite in Saturday’s qualifying session.
Two-time Singapore winner Fernando Alonso was fourth-quickest in his Ferrari, while McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was the only other driver to dip below 1:47 to round out the top five places.
Alonso was the only one of the top guns being more physical, than Vettel, through the streets – at one stage the rear right of the Ferrari 150 Italia slapping the wall. The Spaniard, who has won twice in Singapore, was fourth quickest for his efforts.
Hamilton appeared to be out of sorts with the setup on his McLaren. If anything Hamilton looks to have gone backwards in this area, while his team mate Button has made a leap forward.
The Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher finished sixth and seventh respectively, separated by just 0.006 seconds but well clear of Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari.
Vettel’s soft tyres lasted 16 laps in practice on Friday with almost no degradation and suppliers Pirelli expect a majority of the teams to adopt a three-stop strategy for Sunday’s race.
The scene is set for a tense qualifying session where Red Bull will be gunning for their fourteenth pole position of the season with the McLaren pair and Alonso out to spoil the party for as long as they can.
Saturday, 24 September – Practice 3
|1||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:46.081||15|
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:46.345||0.264||14|
|10||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:49.304||3.223||16|
|12||18||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:49.679||3.598||18|
|13||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:49.816||3.735||18|
|18||19||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:50.547||4.466||17|