Practice 3: Vettel fastest as Red Bulls charge
23 July, 2011
Jul.23 (PVM with Reuters) Under constantly threatening skies, and most of Germany affected by wet and cold weather, world champions Red Bull started strutting their stuff by setting the fastest times in the final free practice session of the German Grand Prix weekend at Nurburgring.
Vettel scorched round his home track – the first and so far only man to dip into 90 seconds zone – in a time of 1 minute 30.916 seconds very late in the session to snatch the initiative from team mate Mark Webber. Both Red Bulls firmly annexing the two top spots on the timings screens in an ominous display of pre-qualifying dominance.
Fernando Alonso has looked the driver most likely to be the proverbial thorn in the Red Bull side was third fastest and not far off the ultimate pace in the vastly improved Ferrari 150 Italia.
McLaren fans will be uplifted by a return to the sharp end of procceedings, after a relatively sombre Friday, with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button ending the session fourth and fifth respectively.
India’s Karun Chandhok, picked to replace Jarno Trulli this weekend, sent smoke flying from his Team Lotus at the end of practice and had to abandon the car.
Dark clouds hung over the traditionally wet Nurburgring and could cause problems with qualifying for Sunday’s race at 12:00 GMT if the heavens open.
Spain’s Alonso, who won the last race at Silverstone, was quickest in first practice on Friday and has said the resurgent Italian team had to go for broke if they were to have any chance of getting back into the title reckoning.
Friday’s second session saw Australian Webber fastest with championship leader Vettel, 80 points clear with nine out of 19 races gone, saying he was not 100 percent happy with his car.
Any glitches appeared to have been fixed on Saturday as he zoomed past his adoring fans in the galleries.
Tyre suppliers Pirelli reckon drivers could opt to change tyres very late in Sunday’s race given the dynamics of the circuit and the weather.
Saturday, 23 July – Practice 3 Results
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:30.916||15|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:31.049||0.133||16|
|6||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:31.694||0.778||19|
|8||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:32.391||1.475||20|
|9||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:32.523||1.607||16|
|12||15||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:32.813||1.897||21|
|17||18||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:33.948||3.032||21|
|18||19||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:34.125||3.209||19|
|20||24||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||1:36.724||5.808||21|
|22||25||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing||1:36.894||5.978||23|