Suzuka Practice 3: Vettel and Webber set the pace 6 October, 2012 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. 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. 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. 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 Related NewsGutierrez: I feel great satisfaction, it’s been a lot of work to get up to this pointFormer first lap nutcase Grosjean earning the respect of his peersHorner: It’s unimaginable that Vettel has had the run of success that he’s hadMassa ignores Ferrari team orders but Alonso not concernedJapanese GP: Vettel doesn’t go bananas but still leads Red Bull rampage at SuzukaJapanese Grand Prix: All the driver quotes from SuzukaVettel: It looks very good at this stage but it’s not over before it’s overWebber: A sensational result for me in my last time here in Japan in Formula 1Grosjean: I thought it was the day that the first victory was comingAlonso: It’s a happy day – the leading points scorer in F1 is something great psych4191 The Moving Chicanes that are HRTs and Marussias absolutely have to go. 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