Sebastian Vettel was quickest once again at the Nurburgring

Sebastian Vettel has made his intentions perfectly clear to rivals Mercedes, by putting in a blistering 1:29.517 to top final practice at the Nurburgring.

Vettel was later than most in switching to the softer compound tyres but showed his Friday practice speed wasn’t a one off, by going just two tenths slower to his best lap time. He is the only driver this weekend to break into the 1:29’s.

Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber finished second and third respectively and were impressive throughout the session, but were bested by six-tenths from Vettel’s lap.

The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have improved on yesterday’s performance and placed themselves in the top five with two one-hundredths of a second separating the pair.

It wasn’t a good day for Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes, however, as he was struggling with the balance of his F1W04. Rather than challenge his teammate and Vettel for top honours, Hamilton found himself spending long periods in the garage as mechanics tried to correct the oversteer problems he was complaining about.

It was a similar story at the other end of the field for the battle of tenth place in the Constructors’ Championship. Caterham’s Charles Pic led the way in 19th, followed closely by Jules Bianchi in the Marussia, who was two tenths behind. Pic’s teammate Giedo van der Garde. The Dutchman finished ahead of an off-the-pace Max Chilton in the second Marussia.

Given the sheer pace the two teams have demonstrated, qualifying looks set to be a shootout between the Red Bulls and the Mercedes, with the stage certainly set for an intriguing race tomorrow.

2013 German Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:29.517   19
2. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:30.193 + 0.676 19
3. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:30.211 + 0.694 18
4. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:30.621 + 1.104 16
5. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:30.639 + 1.122 17
6. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:30.671 + 1.154 19
7. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:30.744 + 1.227 20
8. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:30.781 + 1.264 18
9. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:30.966 + 1.449 20
10. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:31.009 + 1.492 18
11. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:31.326 + 1.809 22
12. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:31.405 + 1.888 20
13. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:31.733 + 2.216 21
14. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:31.855 + 2.338 18
15. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:31.855 + 2.338 23
16. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:31.898 + 2.381 19
17. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:31.969 + 2.452 20
18. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:32.036 + 2.519 23
19. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:33.230 + 3.713 19
20. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:33.470 + 3.953 22
21. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:33.964 + 4.447 21
22. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:34.683 + 5.166 20 supports a world free of factory farming. Learn more and pledge your support by CLICKING HERE!

Josh Kruse
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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.