Practice 3: Vettel fastest as Red Bulls charge

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel peaking at the right time on home turf

Jul.23 (PVM with Reuters) Under constantly threatening skies, and most of Germany affected by wet and cold weather, world champions Red Bull started strutting their stuff by setting the fastest times in the final free practice session of the German Grand Prix weekend at Nurburgring.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso was best of the rest behind the Red Bull pair

Vettel scorched round his home track – the first and so far only man to dip into 90 seconds zone – in a time of 1 minute 30.916 seconds very late in the session to snatch the initiative from team mate Mark Webber. Both Red Bulls firmly annexing the two top spots on the timings screens in an ominous display of pre-qualifying dominance.

Fernando Alonso has looked the driver most likely to be the proverbial thorn in the Red Bull side was third fastest and not far off the ultimate pace in the vastly improved Ferrari 150 Italia.

McLaren fans will be uplifted by a return to the sharp end of procceedings, after a relatively sombre Friday, with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button ending the session fourth and fifth respectively.

India’s Karun Chandhok, picked to replace Jarno Trulli this weekend, sent smoke flying from his Team Lotus at the end of practice and had to abandon the car.

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button back in the zone in final free practice

Dark clouds hung over the traditionally wet Nurburgring and could cause problems with qualifying for Sunday’s race at 12:00 GMT if the heavens open.

Spain’s Alonso, who won the last race at Silverstone, was quickest in first practice on Friday and has said the resurgent Italian team had to go for broke if they were to have any chance of getting back into the title reckoning.

Friday’s second session saw Australian Webber fastest with championship leader Vettel, 80 points clear with nine out of 19 races gone, saying he was not 100 percent happy with his car.

Any glitches appeared to have been fixed on Saturday as he zoomed past his adoring fans in the galleries.

Tyre suppliers Pirelli reckon drivers could opt to change tyres very late in Sunday’s race given the dynamics of the circuit and the weather.

Saturday, 23 July – Practice 3 Results

Pos

No

Driver

Team

Time

Gap

Laps

1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:30.916 15
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:31.049 0.133 16
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:31.138 0.222 12
4 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:31.578 0.662 13
5 4 Jenson Button McLaren 1:31.623 0.707 14
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:31.694 0.778 19
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:32.144 1.228 13
8 14 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:32.391 1.475 20
9 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:32.523 1.607 16
10 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:32.751 1.835 18
11 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:32.777 1.861 18
12 15 Paul di Resta Force India 1:32.813 1.897 21
13 9 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:33.072 2.156 18
14 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:33.179 2.263 17
15 17 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:33.531 2.615 20
16 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:33.671 2.755 20
17 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:33.948 3.032 21
18 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:34.125 3.209 19
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:35.385 4.469 13
20 24 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:36.724 5.808 21
21 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 1:36.804 5.888 23
22 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1:36.894 5.978 23
23 21 Karun Chandhok Lotus 1:36.959 6.043 18
24 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1:37.554 6.638 22