Buddh Practice 3: Vettel tops again but rivals close the gap

27 October, 2012

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing. Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday 26 October 2012.

Sebastian Vettel topped the timing sheets at the end of FP3

Oct.27 (GP247) Sebastian Vettel made it a clean sweep of free practice for the Indian Grand Prix as he topped the timing sheets at the end of FP3. So far this weekend no one has been able to contain the pace of the reigning world champion as he steps up his quest for a third world title in as many years.

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27. Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday 27 October 2012.Small consolation for his rivals, bar teammate Mark Webber, was that by the end of the Saturday morning session they were closer to Vettel than they were the previous day. The world championship leader’s best time of 1 minute 25.842 seconds was ‘only’ 0.192 seconds upon the next best Jenson Button.

The McLaren driver split the Red Bull pair from annexing both top spots, with Webber third quickest and Lewis Hamilton fourth fastest. A mere 0.309 seconds separating the top quartet, and suggesting a Red Bull versus McLaren battle for pole position.

Best of the rest was Kimi Raikkonen who showed strong form in the Lotus, on his first visit to the Buddh circuit. He was fifth fastest, while fellow Buddh rookie teammate Romain Grosjean could only manage the tenth best time.

Sixth fastest was Bruno Senna in the Williams, he too outclassing teammate Pastor Maldonado who was 12th fastest at the end of the hour.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012. Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday 27 October 2012.Vettel’s main championship rival Fernando Alonso, who prior to the Indian GP weekend bemoaned the lack of real development parts for the Ferrari F2012, was seventh quickest. Teammate Felipe Massa was 11th.

Again showing good pace on a track he has not previously raced on was Nico Hulkenberg, setting the eighth best time in Force India with countryman Michael Schumacher – in his last race at Buddh, ninth in the Mercedes.

With four hours of free practice concluded it is apparent that Red Bull have the edge at Buddh, the only question is how much faster they are than next best McLaren and, arguably more importantly, how much quicker they are than Alonso.

Vettel appears to have some in reserve, even coming off it on the final sector of his fastest run in FP3. Betting against a Red Bull invasion of row one in qualifying would be brave.

Subbed by AJN.

Indian Grand Prix Practice 3, Buddh International Circuit – Saturday, 27 October

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.842 20
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.034 0.192 17
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:26.108 0.266 18
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.151 0.309 21
5 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:26.209 0.367 22
6 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:26.214 0.372 24
7 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.521 0.679 15
8 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:26.531 0.689 21
9 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:26.652 0.810 21
10 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:26.664 0.822 21
11 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:26.691 0.849 13
12 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:27.140 1.298 18
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.162 1.320 21
14 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:27.193 1.351 22
15 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:27.229 1.387 21
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:27.374 1.532 21
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:27.711 1.869 20
18 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.983 2.141 19
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:29.035 3.193 20
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:29.237 3.395 20
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:29.617 3.775 20
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:30.298 4.456 20
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:30.824 4.982 22
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:30.873 5.031 22


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