Practice 3: Button completes clean sweep

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.

Jenson Button topped all three practice sessions at Suzuka

Oct.8 (Reuters) Jenson Button completed a clean sweep of domination in Japanese Grand Prix practice by leading a McLaren one-two at the top of the Suzuka timesheets on Saturday.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.

Lewis Hamilton made it a mcLaren 1-2 at the top of the timing screens at Suzuka

The 2009 Formula One world champion, the only man who can deny Red Bull‘s Sebastian Vettel a second successive title with four races to spare, ended the final session with a best time of one minute 31.255 seconds.

Vettel, who need only score a single point on Sunday to be the sport’s youngest double champion at the age of 24, was third fastest.

The German was a whopping 0.867 seconds slower than Button, who was also comfortably fastest in both Friday sessions, raising the very real prospect of Red Bull’s run of 15 successive pole positions coming to an end later on Saturday.

Button has no title illusions, however, with Vettel 124 points clear and only 125 still to be won. The Red Bull driver needs a solitary point to bag his second world championship in as many years.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7.

Sebastian Vettel was third fastest

The Briton would have to win the five remaining races with Vettel, who has not finished lower than fourth all year and won nine of the 14 races, suffering an unthinkable collapse and failing to score again.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was second on the timesheets, half a second slower than Button, while Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso was fourth.

The session was halted for nine minutes to clear up carbon fibre debris on the track after Brazilian Bruno Senna spun and crashed his Renault into the tyre barriers on the exit to the fast Spoon curve.

The Renault ended up with a broken suspension and a front wheel perched on the nose of the car, giving mechanics plenty of work to do before qualifying.

Saturday, 8 October – Practice 3

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.255 13
2 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.762 0.507 16
3 1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:32.122 0.867 18
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:32.279 1.024 16
5 2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:32.401 1.146 14
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:32.429 1.174 16
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:32.725 1.470 19
8 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:32.878 1.623 17
9 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:33.058 1.803 15
10 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:33.424 2.169 14
11 18 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:33.469 2.214 18
12 19 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:33.545 2.290 18
13 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.818 2.563 17
14 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.836 2.581 21
15 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:33.990 2.735 16
16 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:34.321 3.066 21
17 9 Bruno Senna Renault 1:35.389 4.134 5
18 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:35.651 4.396 18
19 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1:36.327 5.072 16
20 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1:36.912 5.657 14
21 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:37.938 6.683 17
22 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:38.011 6.756 16
23 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1:38.355 7.100 19
24 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1:41.097 9.842 8