Sebastian Vettel has continued to dominate proceedings at this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix, yet again finishing atop the timesheets at the end of each of the event’s free practice sessions. The German is an almost unbackable favourite to claim pole position in this afternoon’s qualifying session.
The defending race-winner posted his fastest lap time of this morning’s one-hour session a little past its halfway point, and from that moment on, no one could come close to toppling him from top spot.
Having shown consistent race pace with heavier fuel loads yesterday, McLaren proved that it could challenge to avoid a Red Bull Racing front-row lockout by getting Jenson Button into second-fastest, just under two-tenths of a second off Vettel’s best.
Team-mate Lewis Hamilton finished up fourth-fastest in the sister McLaren, with the pair sandwiching Mark Webber on the timesheets. Webber claimed the position on his final run on soft tyres, although his session was interrupted with a spin at the final corner.
Kimi Räikkönen finished the session fifth-quickest in his Lotus, while Bruno Senna managed sixth overall. The Brazilian showed excellent pace on the harder Pirelli times, going third-quickest overall in his Williams.
The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa finished further down the order than most would have expected, although the Italian team was concentrating on a specific program during the session, which included each of the drivers helping the other with slipstreaming down the track’s long back straight.
Rounding out the top ten were Nico Hülkenberg, Michael Schumacher and Romain Grosjean, who complained of a lack of grip and stability in his Lotus’ handling.
2012 Indian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:25.842||20|
|2.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:26.034||+ 0.192||17|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:26.108||+ 0.266||18|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:26.151||+ 0.309||21|
|5.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:26.209||+ 0.367||22|
|6.||Bruno Senna||Williams Renault FW34||1:26.214||+ 0.372||24|
|7.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:26.521||+ 0.679||15|
|8.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:26.531||+ 0.689||21|
|9.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:26.652||+ 0.810||21|
|10.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:26.664||+ 0.822||21|
|11.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:26.691||+ 0.849||13|
|12.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:27.140||+ 1.298||18|
|13.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:27.162||+ 1.320||21|
|14.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:27.193||+ 1.351||22|
|15.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:27.229||+ 1.387||21|
|16.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:27.374||+ 1.532||21|
|17.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:27.711||+ 1.869||20|
|18.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:27.983||+ 2.141||19|
|19.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||1:29.035||+ 3.193||20|
|20.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:29.237||+ 3.395||20|
|21.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:29.617||+ 3.775||20|
|22.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:30.298||+ 4.456||20|
|23.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:30.824||+ 4.982||22|
|24.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:30.873||+ 5.031||22|