Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel has staked his claim for yet another pole position this season after closing out the final practice session as the fastest driver ahead of this weekend’s German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.

With team-mate Mark Webber ending the session second-quickest, Red Bull Racing once again looks like the team to beat in this afternoon’s all-important qualifying session, unless the forecasted wet weather throws a cat among the pigeons…

On the timesheets, Vettel’s fastest lap – a 1:30.916 – was marginally quicker than Webber (who took his maiden F1 win here when the circus last visited the track in 2009), but the Australian was also held up on his fastest lap, and could well have ended the session quickest of all.

Fernando Alonso finished the session third-quickest to show that Ferrari could give the Red Bulls a run for their money this weekend. The Spaniard remained in the pits as the Red Bulls had a final tilt at top spot at the end of the session, which would indicate that he could be a dark horse for pole later today.

The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button finished fourth- and fifth-fastest respectively, but were over half a second off the leading pace and won’t be a threat for the front row of the grid unless wet weather intervenes in qualifying.

The silver cars look under threat from the two Mercedes drivers and the sister Ferrari of Felipe Massa, who ran close to the McLarens’ times.

Karun ChandhokIt was a generally incident-free session, unless you were a Lotus driver, that is! Heikki Kovalainen lost time with an hydraulics issue, while Karun Chandhok added some support to Jarno Trulli’s claims that the T128 is a beast to drive, with the Indian suffering a multitude of lock-ups and two separate spins as he struggled to tame his new mount.

 

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2011 German Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault RB7 1:30.916 15
2. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault RB7 + 0.133 16
3. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.222 12
4. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.662 13
5. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.707 14
6. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 0.778 19
7. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari F150° Italia + 1.228 13
8. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.475 20
9. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 1.607 16
10. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth FW33 + 1.835 18
11. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault R31 + 1.861 18
12. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.897 21
13. Nick Heidfeld DEU Renault R31 + 2.156 18
14. Rubens Barrichello BRZ Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.263 17
15. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.615 20
16. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.755 20
17. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 3.032 21
18. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 3.209 19
19. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Renault T128 + 4.469 13
20. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 5.808 21
21. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 5.888 23
22. Jérôme d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 5.978 23
23. Karun Chandhok IND Lotus Renault T128 + 6.043 18
24. Daniel Ricciardo AUS HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 6.638 22

[Images via LAT and Formula1.com]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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