Practice 3: Vettel on top as McLaren struggle
9 July, 2011
Jul.9 (PVM) As behind the scenes a battle rages over the implementation of the off-throttle-blown-exhaust clampdown (read more here), on track Sebastian Vettel was doing the business as usual in his Red Bull RB7 in the final free practice session of the British Grand Prix weekend.
The reigning world champion set his time on soft tyres during a series of fast laps late on in the 60 minutes session, narrowly beating Fernando Alonso to top spot of the timing screens – the Ferrari driver a mere 0.063 seconds adrift. The Maranello boys stuck with their aerodynamics updates, including a new rear wing. Felipe Massa was fourth fastest.
Mark Webber was third fastest after spending a large portion of time in the pits as his mechanics toiled with the rear end of his car
Nevertheless Webber in third demonstrated that, at this stage of the weekend, the RB7′s are taking the exhaust restrictions in their stride but the big question is: were they running their cars with the 10% restriction which was mandated by the FIA late in the day or were on a 50% restriction as allowed 24 hours earlier by the governing body…
Whatever the case the McLaren duo appeared way off the pace with Jenson Button sixth and Lewis Hamilton down in 13th. The latter persisted with the new low-drag rear wing, while Button opted for the standard rear wing. The Woking squad will have to turn up the wick if they intend a strong showing on home turf.
Pastor Maldonado set the fifth fastest time for Williams, fastest of the rookies including local hero Paul di Resta who was tenth in his Force India.
Michael Schumacher, a three times winner at Silverstone, had gearbox problems which limited his running, however he did get a late run and finished 11th fastest. Team mate Rosberg was eighth fastest despite a small fire during the session
With the off track action as intense as the on track battles, it remains to be seen how the exhaust clampdown will really impact the pecking order. For now it appears that the balance of power has not budged.
Down the order – the new kid on the block – Daniel Ricciardo having his first run in the HRT ever and the first time in the dry ended the session faster than experienced team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Saturday, 9 July – Practice 3 Results
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:31.401||17|
|3||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:31.829||0.428||12|
|8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:33.044||1.643||23|
|10||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:33.423||2.022||22|
|11||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:33.551||2.150||11|
|12||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:33.660||2.259||22|
|16||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:34.329||2.928||20|
|17||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:34.799||3.398||20|
|21||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||1:37.614||6.213||18|
|22||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing||1:38.068||6.667||20|