Practice 3: Button completes clean sweep
8 October, 2011
Oct.8 (Reuters) Jenson Button completed a clean sweep of domination in Japanese Grand Prix practice by leading a McLaren one-two at the top of the Suzuka timesheets on Saturday.
The 2009 Formula One world champion, the only man who can deny Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel a second successive title with four races to spare, ended the final session with a best time of one minute 31.255 seconds.
Vettel, who need only score a single point on Sunday to be the sport’s youngest double champion at the age of 24, was third fastest.
The German was a whopping 0.867 seconds slower than Button, who was also comfortably fastest in both Friday sessions, raising the very real prospect of Red Bull’s run of 15 successive pole positions coming to an end later on Saturday.
Button has no title illusions, however, with Vettel 124 points clear and only 125 still to be won. The Red Bull driver needs a solitary point to bag his second world championship in as many years.
The Briton would have to win the five remaining races with Vettel, who has not finished lower than fourth all year and won nine of the 14 races, suffering an unthinkable collapse and failing to score again.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was second on the timesheets, half a second slower than Button, while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fourth.
The session was halted for nine minutes to clear up carbon fibre debris on the track after Brazilian Bruno Senna spun and crashed his Renault into the tyre barriers on the exit to the fast Spoon curve.
The Renault ended up with a broken suspension and a front wheel perched on the nose of the car, giving mechanics plenty of work to do before qualifying.
Saturday, 8 October – Practice 3
|10||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:33.424||2.169||14|
|15||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:33.990||2.735||16|