The absence of any dry weather running would have most drivers in something of a panic with just an hour of free running before qualifying, but when your name is Sebastian Vettel, this is a mere speed-bump in the road.
After a high-speed practice crash in the rain-affected first practice session – which damaged all four corners of his RB7 and left him missing in action during yesterday afternoon’s running – Vettel went quickest in the final session by just on-thousandth of a second from Michael Schumacher, whose Mercedes GP continues to show sparkling form at Istanbul.
Much brighter weather greeted the grid’s 24 drivers this morning as final practice got underway, with clear skies taking track temperatures to 30°C shortly after the session began.
While Vettel was quick to get going and clock up some much-needed dry-weather mileage, it was the Mercedes GP pairing of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg who set the early pace – Rosberg would finish up fourth-fastest at the end of the one-hour session.
Another driver regularly at the sharp end of the timesheets was Jenson Button, although the McLaren driver still seemed to be struggling with some lurid handling under braking at the end of the back straight. His McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton finished one spot behind him in sixth place.
Vitaly Petrov was seventh-fastest, while Fernando Alonso eased out Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa to go eighth-quickest, although the Spaniard limped back to the pits with his car stuck in sixth gear.
Sébastien Buemi rounded out the top ten in a confidence-boosting session for the Toro Rosso driver, while team-mate Jaime Alguersuari was well down in 17th place after he lost track time with a spin at Turn 4.
2011 Turkish Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||1:26.037||17|
|2.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||+ 0.001||17|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 0.367||16|
|4.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 0.383||19|
|5.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 0.541||17|
|6.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 0.689||14|
|7.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 0.718||20|
|8.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.782||12|
|9.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.846||12|
|10.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 1.043||16|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 1.084||20|
|12.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 1.218||18|
|13.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 1.281||19|
|14.||Nick Heidfeld||Renault R31||+ 1.342||17|
|15.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 1.491||19|
|16.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 1.607||18|
|17.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 1.687||15|
|18.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 1.939||19|
|19.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus Renault T128||+ 2.874||15|
|20.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus Renault T128||+ 3.660||17|
|21.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 5.060||25|
|22.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 5.138||19|
|23.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 5.338||19|
|24.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 5.972||19|
[Original image via AUTOSPORT]
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