US GP Practice 3: Vettel tops all three sessions
17 November, 2012
Nov.17 (Apex) Sebastian Vettel made a clean sweep of all three United States Grand Prix practice sessions at the brand new Circuit of the Americas in Austin and sending out a signal of intent to his rivals, particularly to fellow world championship contender Fernando Alonso.
With only minutes to go, with Lewis Hamilton top of the timing screens, Vettel scorched around in a time of 1 minutes 36.490 seconds, a quarter of a second up on Hamilton, who had to settle for the next best spot. With a hat-trick of free practice sessions to his credit in Texas it would be foolish to bet against the Red Bull driver taking pole and even the race, as he has struck a rich vein of form, one of a champion’s quality.
Perhaps the only glimmer of hope for the rest is that Vettel’s dominance was whittled down from 1.5 seconds in FP1, to 0.757 seconds in FP2 and down to 0.258 seconds in FP3.
Best of the rest was Hamilton, who may have even topped the timing sheets with his final run but for a tiny mistake in Turn 19 preventing that scenario. Nevertheless the run would have given him a glimmer of hope.
Showing great pace, and showmanship of the highest order was Pastor Maldonado who wrung everything out of the Williams to claim third spot on the timing sheets. When the Venezuelan brings his top game, he is lightening fast and capable of fine driving.
Felipe Massa was sixth fastest in the other Ferrari, with the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg fifth quickest and splitting the reds on the timing sheets.
Almost a second down on his pace setting teammate was Mark Webber in seventh, with Sauber’s Sergio Perez emerging in eighth, ahead of ninth fastest Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India, while McLaren’s Jenson Button rounded out the top ten.
Perez continues to baffle with his antics as he was called by the FIA stewards to explain a collision with Marussia’s Charles Pic, where the Mexican tried a no brainer move on the French rookie which resulted in a spin and broken bits of car for both drivers. Perez has racked up a long list of silly, self generated incidents since he was announced as a McLaren driver for 2013.
Pole position for the inaugural grand prix at the spectacular Circuit of the Americas is Vettel’s to lose, interestingly he has only been on pole twice since the start of his remarkable turnaround in Singapore five races ago and last time out, in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton claimed the top starting slot.
An intriguing qualifying session lies in ahead…
Subbed by AJN.
United States Grand Prix Practice 3, Circuit of the Americas – Saturday, 17 November 2012
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:36.490||18|
|7||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:37.298||0.808||18|
|9||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:37.495||1.005||20|
|16||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.653||2.163||22|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:43.563||7.073||21|
- US GP Practice 2: Vettel fastest as Red Bull looks dominant
- US GP Practice 1: Vettel tops first ever session in Austin
- Buddh Practice 3: Vettel tops again but rivals close the gap
- Yeongam Practice 2: Vettel tops as Red Bull takes control
- Monza Practice 2: Hamilton tops as McLaren dominates and Ferrari chases