Sebastian Vettel is a favourite to claim pole position in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix

Local fans hoping to witness something of a Ferrari resurgence on home soil might walk away from this entire weekend feeling disappointed, as Sebastian Vettel staked his claim for a thirteenth Red Bull pole position of the season by going quickest in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

The German led a team 1-2 from Mark Webber, while Felipe Massa was able to lift spirits a little with the third-fastest time, although he was still half-a-second shy of Vettel’s ultimate pace in a qualifying simulation.

Next up were the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, also showing that the silver cars have plenty of work to do if they want to challenge the Red Bull juggernaut, while the Mercedes GPs of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher finished the session sixth- and seventh-fastest.

Disappointingly, last year’s race winner Fernando Alonso was only eighth-fastest, no doubt leaving the tifosi hoping that the scarlet cars will be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat in qualifying later today.

The middle of the timesheets was a rather Noah’s Ark affair. The Force India pairing of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta rounded out the top-ten, followed by the Renaults of Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov. The Saubers were next up – Sergio Pérez ahead of Kamui Kobayashi once again.

The lower end of the midfield comprised the Williams’ and Toro Rosso entries, with Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado sandwiching Jaime Alguersuari and Sébastien Buemi.

The Team Lotus entries of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen predictably finished up 19th and 20th-quickest, while the back of the back saw the Virgin Racing and HRT outfits duking it out once again.



2011 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault RB7 1:23.170 18
2. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault RB7 + 0.364 19
3. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.498 14
4. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.571 17
5. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.617 16
6. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 0.705 22
7. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 0.944 20
8. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.963 14
9. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.373 21
10. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.411 22
11. Bruno Senna BRZ Renault R31 + 1.683 20
12. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault R31 + 1.719 19
13. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C30 + 1.778 22
14. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.091 21
15. Rubens Barrichello BRZ Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.149 19
16. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 2.256 19
17. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 2.269 22
18. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.369 19
19. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Renault T128 + 4.158 19
20. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Renault T128 + 4.321 19
21. Jérôme d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 5.016 23
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 5.271 22
23. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 5.792 17
24. Daniel Ricciardo AUS HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 7.146 16

[Image via GP Update]

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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.