Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the final practice session at Hungary

A late-night stint from his mechanics may have proven to be the medicine needed to cure Sebastian Vettel’s rather quiet Friday at the Hungaroring, after the German edged out his rivals to go fastest in the final practice session before qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

After the defending champion complained of apparent handling issues with his RB7, his team took advantage of its first curfew exception of the year to work late into the night to improve his car’s set-up.

Team-mate Mark Webber lost out on making it a Red Bull 1-2 courtesy of a mistake on his final flying lap, which allowed Fernando Alonso to finish the session second-fastest, while Jenson Button showing an improved burst of speed to claim third-fastest.

The rain steered clear in the final one-hour practice session, with conditions dry once again. The warmer track temperatures – peaking at 32°C (90°F) during the session – played into the hands of Red Bull Racing, in particular.

Webber finished the session fourth-quickest, comfortably quicker than fifth-fastest Felipe Massa in the sister Ferrari.

Despite losing time as his mechanics investigated a problem with his race seat, Nico Rosberg improved to be sixth-fastest, while Lewis Hamilton complained of poor brake balance as he attempted a final fast lap en route to seventh-fastest. The top-ten was completed by Michael Schumacher, Vitaly Petrov and Paul di Resta.

At the other end of the timing screens, Jarno Trulli took his Lotus around the circuit quicker than team-mate Heikki Kovalainen for the second session in succession, no doubt in part to the revised power steering system he is running for the first time.

Daniel Ricciardo also managed to out-pace HRT team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi in this session, with the Australian rookie finishing 22nd-fastest, while the Italian was slowest of all.

The four-slowest cars all posted times outside the theoretical 107% qualifying cut-off, but they are expected to make the qualifying cut on the grounds that the frontrunners are unlikely to run the Pirelli super-soft compounds in the first qualifying session.



2011 Hungarian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault RB7 1:21.168 17
2. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.301 13
3. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.471 14
4. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault RB7 + 0.477 18
5. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.834 14
6. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 1.366 22
7. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 1.499 14
8. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 1.869 19
9. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault R31 + 2.007 19
10. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 2.108 18
11. Nick Heidfeld DEU Renault R31 + 2.113 13
12. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.207 18
13. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.458 25
14. Rubens Barrichello BRZ Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.495 17
15. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.726 17
16. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 2.798 18
17. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 2.830 15
18. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 2.893 19
19. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Renault T128 + 3.973 20
20. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Renault T128 + 4.333 20
21. Jérôme d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 5.787 20
22. Daniel Ricciardo AUS HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 5.823 19
23. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 6.006 16
24. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 6.545 20

[Image via LAT]

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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.