Vettel Fastest in Final Practice at Silverstone as Blown Diffuser Row Rumbles On


Sebastian Vettel was the fastest man in the third free practice session at Silverstone today, as the Formula 1 teams finally got their first chance of the weekend to run on a dry track.

Fernando Alonso was second fastest and Mark Webber finished the session third.

Off track there were behind-the-scenes discussions going on between race director Charlie Whiting and Red Bull's Christian Horner and Adrian Newey over the topic of off-throttle blown diffusers.

After the two wet sessions yesterday, there was finally an opportunity for the teams put on some dry Pirelli tyres at Silverstone this morning, and collect some valuable dry-weather data.

Jaime Alguersuari was first to set a lap time – a 1:38.936 – over ten seconds faster than Felipe Massa's fastest time from yesterday. This was quickly beaten by Michael Schumacher though, who was clearly testing the limits of the track, as demonstrated by a brief spin.

Just after Schumacher had set his time though, a few drops of rain started falling. This did not stop Mark Webber though, who put in a lap 1.5 seconds faster than Schumacher.

Halfway into the session, as the track began to dry out, drivers started doing some meaningful laps on the option tyres. Jaime Agluersuari was, as is custom, one of the first to set a lap, and went back of the top of the timesheets. Again, his time there was brief, as Nico Rosberg got the fastest lap down to 1:33.044.

With just under 20 minutes remaining, Alonso took over at the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1:32.843. He improved with a lap of 1:31.464 ten minutes later.

With just over three minutes of the session, just after Christian Horner and Adrian Newey were seen storming back from race control, Sebastian Vettel who, up until this moment, had been keeping a low profile this weekend set a time of 1:31.401, beating Alonso's best effort by 0.063 seconds.

Vettel had a go at beating his best lap, but the rain started falling again as the chequered flag fell, and he could not improve.

 

British Grand Prix 2011: Free Practice 3

Pos No Driver Team Time Laps
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Austria Red Bull 1:31.401 21
2 5 Spain Fernando Alonso Italy Ferrari 1:31.464 22
3 2 Australia Mark Webber Austria Red Bull 1:31.829 11
4 6 Brazil Felipe Massa Italy Ferrari 1:32.169 22
5 12 Venezuela  Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Williams 1:32.496 16
6 4 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom McLaren 1:32.956 21
7 16 Japan  Kamui Kobayashi Switzerland Sauber 1:33.014 22
8 8 Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes 1:33.044 20
9 17 Switzerland Sergio Perez Switzerland Sauber 1:33.264 20
10 15 United Kingdom Paul di Resta India Force India 1:33.423 21
11 7 Germany Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes 1:33.551 21
12 14 Germany Adrian Sutil India Force India 1:33.660 21
13 3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom McLaren 1:33.842 18
14 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom Williams 1:33.905 20
15 10 Russian Federation Vitaly Petrov United Kingdom Renault 1:34.042 19
16 19 Spain Jaime Alguersuari Italy Toro Rosso 1:34.329 17
17 18 Switzerland Sebastien Buemi Italy Toro Rosso 1:34.799 21
18 9 Germany Nick Heidfeld United Kingdom Renault 1:34.822 22
19 20 Finland Heikki Kovalainen United Kingdom Team Lotus 1:35.225 11
20 21 Italy Jarno Trulli United Kingdom Team Lotus 1:36.905 22
21 24 Germany Timo Glock United Kingdom Virgin Racing 1:37.614 16
22 25 Belgium Jerome D'Ambrosio United Kingdom Virgin Racing 1:38.068 21
23 22 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Spain Hispania Racing 1:38.289 22
24 23 Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi Spain Hispania Racing 1:38.568 20