Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing have moved into top spot on the Saturday timesheets, with the German posting the fastest lap time as practice was brought to a close for the Korean Grand Prix.
After the reigning champion had been shaded by Lewis Hamilton in both of yesterday’s free practice sessions, the German returned service on Saturday, leading a 1-2 on the timesheets ahead of teammate Mark Webber.
Vettel and Webber had set the pace in the opening stages of the session before Lewis Hamilton registered the quickest time on the hard-compound Pirelli tyres.
But the later switch to the super-soft rubber saw Vettel return to the top of the pecking order with a late fliying lap to eclipse the 1:38.018 time posted by Webber, clocking the only sub-1m38s time of the weekend so far.
After its strong showing yesterday’s practice sessions, Mercedes had to settle for third and fourth overall, with Nico Rosberg emerging ahead of teammate Hamilton, although the Englishman was delayed by traffic on one of his hot laps.
Ferrari and Lotus were right behind, with Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen rounding out the top eight. Grosjean could perhaps count himself unlucky not to mix it with the Mercedes runners, with a promising lap blotted by a mistake in the final sector.
Nico Hülkenberg showed improved pace for Sauber in final practice, with the Swiss team no doubt hoping that it can get its third top-ten qualifying performance on the trot. The German beat Jenson Button into ninth place at the end of the hour.
2013 Korean Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:37.881||17|
|2.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:38.018||+ 0.137||17|
|3.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:38.318||+ 0.437||16|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:38.332||+ 0.451||15|
|5.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:38.486||+ 0.605||13|
|6.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:38.701||+ 0.820||19|
|7.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:38.816||+ 0.935||14|
|8.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:38.857||+ 0.976||17|
|9.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:38.961||+ 1.080||16|
|10.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:39.114||+ 1.233||14|
|11.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:39.128||+ 1.247||15|
|12.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:39.196||+ 1.315||16|
|13.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:39.204||+ 1.323||17|
|14.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:39.274||+ 1.393||15|
|15.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:39.327||+ 1.446||17|
|16.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:39.371||+ 1.490||19|
|17.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:39.665||+ 1.784||15|
|18.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:40.128||+ 2.247||17|
|19.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||1:41.360||+ 3.479||19|
|20.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:41.614||+ 3.733||20|
|21.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:41.646||+ 3.765||14|
|22.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:42.267||+ 4.386||17|