Sebastian Vettel set the benchmark in the final practice session before this afternoon’s Turkish Grand Prix qualifying session, but not without a little drama en route…

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton looked set to make it a surprise three peat of the Sebastian Vettel was quickest in the final sessionpractice sessions after the team headed both sessions yesterday – despite a wild Turn 8 spin during the session – helped by both Red Bulls making mistakes during their last runs at a fast time.

Despite exploring the available grip in the Turn 8 run-off on his first flying lap in his final run, Vettel (pictured left) held it together on his last flying lap with a time of 1:27.086, nearly 0.3 seconds quicker than the rest of the field.

Both Red Bull drivers were quickest of all in the lap’s middle sector, a sector that focuses heavily on medium- and high-speed corners, including the mighty, quadruple-apex Turn 8.

Shortly after Vettel’s quick lap, Nico Rosberg vaulted his Mercedes GP into second place, bumping Hamilton down to third on the timesheets.

Mark Webber finished fourth-quickest overall, but not after another reliability concern when his Red Bull developed a throttle problem on his initial out-lap. He returned to the pits and rejoined just under 15 minutes later with the problem sorted. But his last attempt at a hot lap at the end of the session was ruined when he too added to the skid mark collection in the Turn 8 run-off with his own lurid spin, somehow keeping it off the walls.

Lewis Hamilton, as we mentioned, also joined the list of Turn 8 spinners, runningHamilton joined the list of Turn 8 spinners wide halfway through the corner (pictured) and his McLaren snapping violently sideways, which he held until somehow managing to find the sole piece of gravel at that corner, where he promptly beached himself. Rescued by the safety trucks, he was able to rejoin the circuit and limp back to the pits, but his rear Bridgestone tyres from that set were shot down to the canvas.

Despite our predictions that the shortcomings of the Renault R30 would prove too much of a handicap for Robert Kubica this weekend – not forgetting his outstanding performance in Monaco a fortnight ago – the Pole has performed surprisingly well and finished fifth-quickest overall. A great confidence booster to his team-mate Vitaly Petrov will be a top-ten result for the Russian, and the F1 rookie has run comparably to his more established team-mate’s pace all weekend. Furthermore, he’s also managed to keep it out of the barriers this weekend, which very much breaks the pattern of previous race weekends.

The most frustrating incident of the session was no doubt felt in Adrian Sutil’s garage, where his Force India was wheeled into the garage with an hydraulics leak after completing a single installation lap, and it could not be repaired within the duration of the 60-minute session.

2010 Turkish Grand Prix Practice 3 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault 1:27.086 18
2. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 0.273 16
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.310 14
4. Mark Webber AU Red Bull Renault + 0.467 15
5. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 0.698 20
6. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 0.775 18
7. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 0.793 16
8. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.877 17
9. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 0.883 20
10. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 1.258 18
11. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1.524 22
12. Pedro de la Rosa ESP Sauber Ferrari + 1.566 20
13. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1.648 21
14. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 1.950 20
15. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 1.958 18
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA Force India Mercedes + 2.125 15
17. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 2.219 14
18. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Cosworth + 3.532 19
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth + 3.798 22
20. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.255 21
21. Lucas di Grassi BRA Virgin Racing Cosworth + 5.094 16
22. Bruno Senna BRA HRT Cosworth + 5.144 21
23. Karun Chandhok IND HRT Cosworth + 5.676 19
24. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes no time 1

[Original images via GP Update and]

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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.