A late-night stint from his mechanics may have proven to be the medicine needed to cure Sebastian Vettel’s rather quiet Friday at the Hungaroring, after the German edged out his rivals to go fastest in the final practice session before qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
After the defending champion complained of apparent handling issues with his RB7, his team took advantage of its first curfew exception of the year to work late into the night to improve his car’s set-up.
Team-mate Mark Webber lost out on making it a Red Bull 1-2 courtesy of a mistake on his final flying lap, which allowed Fernando Alonso to finish the session second-fastest, while Jenson Button showing an improved burst of speed to claim third-fastest.
The rain steered clear in the final one-hour practice session, with conditions dry once again. The warmer track temperatures – peaking at 32°C (90°F) during the session – played into the hands of Red Bull Racing, in particular.
Webber finished the session fourth-quickest, comfortably quicker than fifth-fastest Felipe Massa in the sister Ferrari.
Despite losing time as his mechanics investigated a problem with his race seat, Nico Rosberg improved to be sixth-fastest, while Lewis Hamilton complained of poor brake balance as he attempted a final fast lap en route to seventh-fastest. The top-ten was completed by Michael Schumacher, Vitaly Petrov and Paul di Resta.
At the other end of the timing screens, Jarno Trulli took his Lotus around the circuit quicker than team-mate Heikki Kovalainen for the second session in succession, no doubt in part to the revised power steering system he is running for the first time.
Daniel Ricciardo also managed to out-pace HRT team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi in this session, with the Australian rookie finishing 22nd-fastest, while the Italian was slowest of all.
The four-slowest cars all posted times outside the theoretical 107% qualifying cut-off, but they are expected to make the qualifying cut on the grounds that the frontrunners are unlikely to run the Pirelli super-soft compounds in the first qualifying session.
2011 Hungarian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||1:21.168||17|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.301||13|
|3.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 0.471||14|
|4.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 0.477||18|
|5.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.834||14|
|6.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 1.366||22|
|7.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 1.499||14|
|8.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||+ 1.869||19|
|9.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 2.007||19|
|10.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 2.108||18|
|11.||Nick Heidfeld||Renault R31||+ 2.113||13|
|12.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 2.207||18|
|13.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 2.458||25|
|14.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 2.495||17|
|15.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 2.726||17|
|16.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 2.798||18|
|17.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.830||15|
|18.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.893||19|
|19.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus Renault T128||+ 3.973||20|
|20.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus Renault T128||+ 4.333||20|
|21.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 5.787||20|
|22.||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 5.823||19|
|23.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 6.006||16|
|24.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 6.545||20|
[Image via LAT]