Suzuka Practice 3: Webber fastest as Vettel slowed by KERS battery problem

Mark Webber fastest in FP3

Mark Webber fastest in FP3

Red Bull‘s Mark Webber was fastest in Saturday’s final free practice for the Japanese Grand Prix after World Champion team mate Sebastian Vettel was sidelined by a KERS battery problem.

Vettel, who can secure his fourth successive Formula 1 title in Sunday’s race if he wins and Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso fails to finish in the top eight, ended the session with the ninth quickest time.

However the 26-year-old German, who has qualified on pole position in Japan for the past four years and has also won three of the last four races at Suzuka, managed only eight laps compared to Webber’s 17.

Vettel was changed into a jeans and T-shirt before the end of the session, watching in the garage for the final 15 minutes as mechanics changed the battery on his car’s KERS energy recovery system.

Webber’s time of 1:32.053 seconds was 0.134 faster than Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes with the Briton’s team mate Nico Rosberg third fastest.

Alonso, who is second overall in the title race but 77 points adrift of Vettel, was fifth fastest, with Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa sixth.

Romain Grosjean was better of the two Lotus drivers setting the fourth best time, with teammate Kimi Raikkonen eighth.

McLaren‘s Jenson Button was seventh fastest, with teammate Sergio Perez 11th.

Adrian Sutil crashed his Force India at the exit to the Spoon Curve, spinning and hitting the barriers.

The scene is set for  qualifying battle which is likely to be between Red Bull and Mercedes, with Lotus perhaps getting a look in. (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

Japanese Grand Prix, Free Practice 3 – Saturday, 12 October 2013

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:32.053 17
2 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:32.187 0.134 18
3 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:32.355 0.302 18
4 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:32.707 0.654 26
5 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:32.800 0.747 14
6 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:32.815 0.762 14
7 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.869 0.816 17
8 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:32.946 0.893 25
9 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:33.036 0.983 8
10 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.076 1.023 12
11 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.158 1.105 15
12 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:33.260 1.207 15
13 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:33.490 1.437 16
14 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:33.638 1.585 17
15 14 Pau l di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:33.660 1.607 19
16 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.732 1.679 15
17 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:33.955 1.902 18
18 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:34.773 2.720 8
19 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:35.473 3.420 20
20 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:35.518 3.465 18
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:35.844 3.791 16
22 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:39.378 7.325 20