Practice 3: Vettel in another league quickest by half a second

13 October, 2012

Sebastian Vettel fastest in FP3

Sebastian Vettel fastest in FP3

Oct.13 (GP247) Sebastian Vettel was simply in another league as he ended the third and final free practice session of the Korean Grand Prix a massive half second up on his closest rival, as Red Bull look to maintain their winning run at Yeongam.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27. Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday 13 October 2012.It was an ominous display by Vettel, only a couple of hours before qualifying, and a mere six days since his dominant display in Japan where the team’s RB8 made a big jump in performance relative to rivals Ferrari and McLaren. His time of 1 minute 37.642 seconds was over a second faster than the previous day’s best.

Chasing the world champion were the pair of McLaren drivers with Lewis Hamilton claiming the second best time and Jenson Button third fastest.

Also showing strong pace with the Coanda exhaust system was the Lotus E20, which Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen used to good effect to claim fourth and fifth respectively.

Championship leader Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari was over a second down from Vettel, his closest challenger in the title race, with the sixth best time.

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20. Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday 12 October 2012.Engine problems plagued Mark Webber’s Red Bull, as a result he only managed seven laps in the 60 minute session and was unable to do a run on the super soft tyres.

Felipe Massa was eighth fastest in the Ferrari, not far off his teammate’s pace, with Pastor Maldonado eighth and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg tenth.

Although practice sessions tend to be meaningless in terms of determining race pace and the like, but in this instance with the title race as close as ever Vettel’s advantage is an ominous sign and making maximum use of it ahead of qualifying is a master-stroke in the psychological battle.

It is clear that Red Bull have made a big lead ahead in the development battle, but they are being chased hard by McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus – all with major pedigrees at the highest level – all with world champions in their cockpits. An intriguing afternoon in Korea lies ahead.

Subbed by AJN.

Free Practice, Korean Grand Prix – Saturday, 12 October 2012

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:37.642 17
2 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.169 0.527 12
3 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.511 0.869 13
4 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:38.582 0.940 16
5 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:38.666 1.024 18
6 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:38.705 1.063 12
7 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:38.766 1.124 7
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:38.791 1.149 13
9 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:38.833 1.191 16
10 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:38.932 1.290 17
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.954 1.312 17
12 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:39.010 1.368 20
13 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:39.150 1.508 18
14 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:39.156 1.514 18
15 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.345 1.703 14
16 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:39.448 1.806 17
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:39.537 1.895 18
18 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:39.706 2.064 18
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:41.114 3.472 14
20 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:41.437 3.795 19
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:41.684 4.042 16
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:42.062 4.420 15
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:42.845 5.203 15
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:42.882 5.240 14

 


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