Sebastian Vettel has set himself as a favourite to claim pole position at the Korean Grand Prix

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:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:37.881   17
2. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:38.018 + 0.137 17
3. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:38.318 + 0.437 16
4. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:38.332 + 0.451 15
5. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:38.486 + 0.605 13
6. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:38.701 + 0.820 19
7. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:38.816 + 0.935 14
8. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:38.857 + 0.976 17
9. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:38.961 + 1.080 16
10. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:39.114 + 1.233 14
11. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:39.128 + 1.247 15
12. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:39.196 + 1.315 16
13. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:39.204 + 1.323 17
14. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:39.274 + 1.393 15
15. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:39.327 + 1.446 17
16. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:39.371 + 1.490 19
17. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:39.665 + 1.784 15
18. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:40.128 + 2.247 17
19. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:41.360 + 3.479 19
20. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:41.614 + 3.733 20
21. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:41.646 + 3.765 14
22. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:42.267 + 4.386 17

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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.