Mark Webber has toppled McLaren’s dominance of the practice sessions at the Chinese Grand Prix by setting the fastest time in the third and final practice session before qualifying this afternoon.
Webber’s time of 1:35.323 was in fact slightly slower that the best time set by Lewis Hamilton in yesterday’s second practice session.
McLaren and Red Bull fans would have been pleased to see their respective drivers heading the timesheets for much of this morning 60-minute session, typically used to perform qualifying simulation runs.
There were few incidents in the session, with the exception of Vitaly Petrov’s crash at the end of the main straight: his Renault running wide onto the Astroturf and sliding into the barriers, causing heavy damage to the front end of his R30. The session was red-flagged for 7 minutes while the debris was cleared.
After his session-ending shunt in the first practice session that caused his entire absence from the second practice session, Sébastien Buemi would have been pleased to complete 18 trouble-free laps this session and rank 13th-quickest overall.
Another pleasing showing – from the bottom of the timesheets, this time – was that of Hispania Racing, which has shown a significant improvement in pace this weekend. The faster of the drivers – Bruno Senna – lapped just outside of 0.5s of the next-quickest driver, Jarno Trulli.
With Red Bull now joining McLaren and Mercedes GP at the pointy end of the timesheets – and Ferrari still yet to show their true pace, it seems – this afternoon’s qualifying session will be a fascinating affair.
2010 Chinese GP Practice 2 Session Times:
[Original image via AUTOSPORT]