Suzuka Practice 3: Vettel and Webber set the pace

Sebastian Vettel was fastest ahead of qualifying during practice for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit on October 5, 2012 in Suzuka, Japan.

Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the final practice session before of qualifying

Oct.6 (GP247) Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber hogged the top spots on the timing screens after the final free practice session of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend at Suzuka as the energy drinks team set the pace in a dominant manner a few hours before qualifying.

Mark Webber Red Bull during practice for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit on October 5, 2012 in Suzuka, Japan.At the front, Vettel ended the session 0.235 seconds up on his teammate, but a whopping 0.688 ahead of the best of the rest – Felipe Massa in the Ferrari. Interestingly the Brazilian was, unusually, almost half a second up on teammate and world championship leader Fernando Alonso who appeared to be struggling and could only manage the 11th best time a full second down on the top time.

Fourth was Michael Schumacher who recovered from his Mercedes bending excursion during the Friday afternoon practice session. The six time Japanese GP winner was a second up on team mate Nico Rosberg who was way down the order, 15th fastest after the 60 minutes session.

Sauber continue to impress and are looking possible podium contenders at this stage, with their tyre efficiency likely to be a big factor on the abrasive track. Sergio Perez was a mere 0.004 seconds up on local hero, teammate Kamui Kobayashi, putting the Swiss team’s drivers fifth and sixth.

Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday 5 October 2012.Romain Grosjean was seventh fastest, and a quarter second up on Lotus teammate Kimi Raikkonen who was twelfth when the chequered flag fell to end the session. The Finn has been struggling with a faulty KERS all weekend.

The McLaren‘s were unexpectedly down the order, suggesting that they are keeping their big guns for qualifying with Jenson Button eighth fastest and 0.889 down on Vettel’s best. Lewis Hamilton was 13th and 1.433 off the top pace.

The tricky nature of Suzuka took its toll on the opening day, and again in FP3 – 40 minutes into the session -as Nico Hulkenberg lost the rear end as the Force India got big oversteer going into the second Degner Curve and slammed the barrier side on and crumpling the front left of the VJM05. Another busy day for the Force India crew, as Paul di Resta had also crashed on the previous day.

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03. Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday 5 October 2012.Di Resta ended FP3 ninth on the timing sheets, with Hulkenberg 18th before his misfortune.

Rounding out the top ten was Pastor Maldonado in the Williams, his teammate Bruno Senna, who was quicker than the Venezuelan the previous day was 16th.

Red Bull looks well and trully poised to dominate qualifying if FP3 is anything to go by. But Mclaren cannot be counted out as they showed strong pace on day one of Suzuka action. The morning session may have just been a race set-up programme for both drivers, of which Button has a five grid place penalty and no matter what will not start on pole, or the first five positions on the grid for that matter.

Subbed by AJN.

Japanese GP Practice 3, Suzuka – Saturday, 6 October 2012

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:32.136 17
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:32.371 0.235 20
3 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:32.824 0.688 13
4 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:32.918 0.782 23
5 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:32.920 0.784 19
6 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:32.924 0.788 15
7 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:33.008 0.872 21
8 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.025 0.889 16
9 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:33.094 0.958 17
10 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:33.160 1.024 16
11 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:33.184 1.048 14
12 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:33.224 1.088 15
13 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.569 1.433 14
14 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:33.722 1.586 18
15 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.899 1.763 23
16 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:33.984 1.848 19
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:34.023 1.887 19
18 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:34.369 2.233 11
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:35.568 3.432 19
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:36.355 4.219 18
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:36.389 4.253 11
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:36.517 4.381 18
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:36.649 4.513 12
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:36.875 4.739 16
  • psych4191

    The Moving Chicanes that are HRTs and Marussias absolutely have to go. I’m sick of both teams impeding and endangering other drivers.