Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the final practice session before Turkish GP qualifying gets underwayThe 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:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault RB7 1:26.037 17
2. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 0.001 17
3. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault RB7 + 0.367 16
4. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 0.383 19
5. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.541 17
6. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.689 14
7. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault R31 + 0.718 20
8. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.782 12
9. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.846 12
10. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 1.043 16
11. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C30 + 1.084 20
12. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth FW33 + 1.218 18
13. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.281 19
14. Nick Heidfeld DEU Renault R31 + 1.342 17
15. Rubens Barrichello BRZ Williams Cosworth FW33 + 1.491 19
16. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.607 18
17. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 1.687 15
18. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C30 + 1.939 19
19. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Renault T128 + 2.874 15
20. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Renault T128 + 3.660 17
21. Jérôme d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 5.060 25
22. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 5.138 19
23. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 5.338 19
24. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 5.972 19

[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.