Interlagos Practice 3: Button shows his hand

24 November, 2012

Jenson Button

Jenson Button ended the final free practice session of the season fastest of all at Interlagos

Nov.24 (Reuters) Jenson Button lapped fastest in the final practice of the Formula One season, at Interlagos, in Brazil with Red Bull’s championship leader Sebastian Vettel close behind, while fellow title contender Fernando Alonso lagged behind.

Sebastian Vettel Red Bull , Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 23 November 2012.Vettel, who is 13 points clear of Alonso, was a mere 0.057 slower than Button whose team mate Lewis Hamilton dominated both of Friday’s sessions at Interlagos.

In contrast, half a second off the top pace was Ferrari’s Alonso, who must finish on the podium in what looks likely to be a rain-hit race on Sunday if he is to have a hope of securing his third title and deny Vettel a hat-trick, was eighth fastest.

Even if the Spaniard were to win the race in Brazil, his championship efforts will be in vain if Vettel finishes fourth or higher.

Button’s time of 1 minute 13.188 seconds was comfortably the fastest of the weekend so far and suggested that McLaren could make life very difficult for the title contenders. The 2009 world champion, who has yet to win at Interlagos had a high downforce package on the MP4-27, after having spent Friday evaluating a low down force setup which clearly was no match.

The frontrunners will need no reminding that in 2010, Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg put his Williams on pole against all the odds in just such tricky weather conditions.

Australian Mark Webber was third fastest on Saturday with Hamilton fourth ahead of his final qualifying session for McLaren before moving to Mercedes next season.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean was fifth fastest for Lotus but his team mate Kimi Raikkonen, winner in Abu Dhabi this month, managed only three laps before pulling over with a cloud of smoke coming from his car’s blown engine.

The Force Indias of Paul Di Resta and Hulkenberg lapped sixth and seventh fastest.

Local hero Bruno Senna who ended the session 11th spun and forced Michael Schumacher to take avoiding action. Senna’s place at Williams is looking uncertain for 2013 and this could well be his final race weekend with the team.

Sunday’s race will be seven-time champion Schumacher’s last, with the 43-year-old heading into retirement after a disappointing comeback with Mercedes. The German was 15th fastest.

Rain is being predicted for race day and may even make an appearance for qualifying. Watch this space…

Subbed by AJN.

Brazilian Grand Prix Free prcatice 3, Interlagos – Saturday, 24 November

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.188 22
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:13.245 0.057 21
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:13.385 0.197 25
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.389 0.201 17
5 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:13.420 0.232 24
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:13.486 0.298 21
7 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:13.602 0.414 22
8 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:13.691 0.503 15
9 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:13.700 0.512 20
10 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:13.712 0.524 17
11 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:13.948 0.760 20
12 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:14.126 0.938 25
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:14.190 1.002 26
14 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:14.192 1.004 21
15 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:14.347 1.159 24
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:14.687 1.499 21
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:14.972 1.784 19
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:15.159 1.971 22
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:15.707 2.519 21
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:15.763 2.575 24
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:16.059 2.871 21
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:16.198 3.010 15
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:16.793 3.605 18
24 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault No time 3


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