The two homeboys – Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg – look set to slug it for the remainder of the German Grand Prix weekend as the pair topped the timing sheets at the end of the third and final free practice, ahead of the all important afternoon qualifying session.
Vettel was in fine form in his Red Bull as he powered around the Nurburgring in a time of 1:29.517 seconds, which was a whopping 0.676 seconds up on Mercedes’ Rosberg and almost a full second up on his best lap time 24 hours earlier.
With it the German sent out a clear signal to his rivals; he seriously wants to win his home grand prix – a feat he has yet to accomplish in his distinguished career.
Mark Webber, in the sister Red Bull, was third fastest but only fractionally down on Rosberg which suggests that the energy drinks boys have the edge going into qualifying.
Ferrari have plugged away at getting their F138 up to speed, recovering nicely after a frustrating first day with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa fourth and fifth quickest respectively.
Also in the zone were the Lotus pair with Kimi Raikkonen sixth and teammate Romain Grosjean eighth.
With the weather set to get warmer – indeed, a heatwave is predicted by local experts, which should suit Ferrari and Lotus.
Out of sorts and apparently going backwards, since he topped FP1 on Friday morning, was Lewis Hamilton who split the black and gold cars on the timing screens with the seventh best time. He was 1.227 adrift of his Mercedes teammate.
Nico Rosberg was ninth fastest in the Sauber, and no doubt brought some cheer to the Swiss outfit whose weekend has been clouded by revelations of financial doom and gloom.
Rounding out the top ten was Adrian Sutil in the Force India, with teammate Paul di Resta 13th.
After a promising start to the weekend, Jenson Button dipped back into what has become his ‘normal’ position (this season) just outside the top ten in the McLaren – in this instance 11th. Teammate Sergio Perez was 15th.
Good news on the tyre front is that no Pirelli went ‘poof’ during the course of four hours of running at the Nurburgring, suggesting that the Silverstone explosion problems are a thing of the past… (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.
German Grand Prix, Free practice 3 – Saturday, 6 July 2013
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:29.517||19|
|3||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:30.211||0.694||18|
|10||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:31.009||1.492||18|
|13||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:31.733||2.216||21|
|21||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:33.964||4.447||21|