Red Bull will head into this afternoon’s qualifying session as clear favourites to take Vettel will be a favourite to take pole at the British GPtheir ninth pole position of the season – let’s remind you, in ten rounds! – after Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber locked out the top of the third and final practice session timesheets.

The one key question will be: which Red Bull driver will take pole?

However it wasn’t all plain sailing, as Vettel had a scare after posting his fastest lap when his RB6’s revised front wing tried to detach itself from the car. The German was able to nurse his car back to pit lane, but the wing – after scraping along the tarmac along Hangar Straight – had run its final outing for the weekend.

Webber wound up just 0.034s slower than his team-mate, and will be extremely motivated to try and have a good run at pole position for this afternoon’s knockout sessions.

Fernando Alonso had headed the running order until Red Bull’s late surge on low tanks, and the Spaniard wound up third-quickest overall and it looks like he could pose as Red Bull’s only threat this weekend, as McLaren’s pace has seemingly deserted them this weekend.

The Woking squad’s mechanics spent much of the night removing the team’s iteration of the ‘blown diffuser’ exhaust system from the MP4-25, with rumours being that the redirected hot air gases were causing the car’s floor to warp. Coupled with an all-nighter for test driver Gary Paffet in the team’s simulator, the team’s Hurculean efforts were partially rewarded, with Hamilton able to close the gap to the front-running Red Bulls to just under six-tenths of a second. However, Jenson Button finished twelfth-quickest…

By contrast, Nico Rosberg showed more encouraging form for Mercedes GP – which has suffered from a lack of qualifying pace in the last two rounds – by finishing up fourth-quickest, with team-mate Michael Schumacher not far behind in eighth spot.

Completing the top ten was Pedro de la Rosa in the ever-improving Sauber and Rubens Barrichello for Williams.

Reliability issues played havoc for three drivers’ schedules in the last practice session before qualifying, which could potentially compromise their afternoon’s running. Of greatest concern was probably for Adrian Sutil, whose Force India suffered a gearbox problem.

At the lower end of the field, Jarno Trulli’s appalling lack of mileage continued when he was sidelines with yet another hydraulics issue in his Lotus, while Timo Glock managed just six laps in his Virgin racer due to a throttle problem.

2010 British GP Practice 3 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault 1:30.958 14
2. Mark Webber AU Red Bull Renault + 0.034 15
3. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 0.143 10
4. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 0.230 15
5. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 0.282 16
6. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 0.561 18
7. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.591 16
8. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 0.597 14
9. Pedro de la Rosa ESP Sauber Ferrari + 0.601 18
10. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 0.623 16
11. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 0.740 17
12. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.745 16
13. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 0.909 17
14. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 0.989 16
15. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 1.036 13
16. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1.277 18
17. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1.373 20
18. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA_thumb[2] Force India Mercedes + 1.765 18
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth + 3.381 20
20. Lucas di Grassi BRA Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.521 17
21. Jarno Trulli ITA_thumb[2] Lotus Cosworth + 5.140 11
22. Karun Chandhok IND_thumb[3] HRT Cosworth + 5.328 16
23. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 5.682 6
24. Sakon Yamamoto JPN HRT Cosworth + 6.220 18

[Original image via AUTOSPORT]

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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.