Sebastian Vettel has led another Red Bull Racing 1-2 in practice, this time reversing the order led by team-mate Mark Webber in yesterday’s second practice session.
Neither of the team’s main rivals from McLaren featured prominently in the timesheets in today’s final one-hour session, although both Jenson Button (sixth-fastest) and Lewis Hamilton (thirteenth) both had hot laps ruined by slower cars.
Conditions were again dry and fine when the circuit opened for business at 11:00AM local time, and Vettel had asserted himself with the fastest time by the session’s midpoint.
The German posted a quicker effort to knock Webber off top spot by just under a quarter of a second, while Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher wound up third- and fourth-fastest, just ahead of Sauber duo Sergio Pérez and Kamui Kobayashi.
Traffic posed significant problems during the course of the session, and both McLaren drivers were the victims when they came across slower cars wondering about the racing line. Button had to take avoiding action with Schumacher after he came across the German at 130R, while Hamilton did well not to hit Charles Pic, who’d all but parked his Marussia on the racing line at the Casio Triangle chicane.
Kimi Räikkönen again had a torrid session, winding up well down the timesheets and without more valuable track mileage. After being hit with KERS issues yesterday, the Finn was troubled today by a rear anti-roll bar problem.
Räikkönen’s problems paled in comparison to Nico Hülkenberg, who gave the Force India mechanics yet more work to when he crashed out of the session. The German lost the rear end of his car and skidded into the barriers, causing significant damage to his left-front suspension and left-rear quarter.
2012 Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:32.136||17|
|2.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:32.371||+ 0.235||20|
|3.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:32.824||+ 0.688||13|
|4.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:32.918||+ 0.782||23|
|5.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:32.920||+ 0.784||19|
|6.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:32.924||+ 0.788||15|
|7.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:33.008||+ 0.872||15|
|8.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:33.025||+ 0.889||21|
|9.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:33.094||+ 0.958||17|
|10.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:33.160||+ 1.024||16|
|11.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:33.184||+ 1.048||14|
|12.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:33.224||+ 1.088||15|
|13.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:33.569||+ 1.433||14|
|14.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:33.722||+ 1.586||18|
|15.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:33.899||+ 1.763||23|
|16.||Bruno Senna||Williams Renault FW34||1:33.984||+ 1.848||19|
|17.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:34.023||+ 1.887||19|
|18.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:34.369||+ 2.233||11|
|19.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||1:35.568||+ 3.432||19|
|20.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:36.355||+ 4.219||18|
|21.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:36.389||+ 4.253||11|
|22.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:36.517||+ 4.381||18|
|23.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:36.649||+ 4.513||12|
|24.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:36.875||+ 4.739||16|