Interlagos Practice 3: Button shows his hand
24 November, 2012
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.
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.
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
|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|
|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|
|22||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:16.198||3.010||15|
|24||9||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||No time||3|
- Ricciardo: I enjoyed my years at Toro Rosso but I’m pleased to be moving on to Red Bull
- Kvyat impresses early on in his F1 adventure
- Vettel sad that phenomenal year of F1 dominance is now over
- Webber leaves Formula 1 respected and proud after amazing journey
- Tears, anger, uncertainty as long and hard 2013 Formula 1 season closes in Brazil
- Hamilton: With hindsight perhaps I should have just let him past
- Kovalainen: I was anticipating that it would be easier to come back and race competitively
- Massa: Unbelievable, unacceptable, they didn’t do the right thing, I’m disappointed
- Ferrari: We have ended a difficult season with our heads held high
- Red Bull: It was a fitting way to end with a one-two finish