Formula 1

Vettel Back On Top in Germany as Teams Prepare for Qualifying

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Sebastian Vettel sent out a warning to his rivals for qualifying after setting the fastest lap in the final practice session at the Nürburgring this morning.

The world champion’s lap was 0.133 seconds faster than that of team-mate Mark Webber, but Fernando Alonso continued to show the strong pace of Ferrari by finishing the session third.

Lewis Hamilton finished the session fourth, on place ahead of team-mate Jenson Button, suggesting that McLaren have found some pace since yesterday. However, Hamilton was still 0.662 seconds off Vettel’s effort.

Each driver set their fastest lap towards the end of the session, taking advantage of a fresh set of the Pirelli option tyres to complete a qualifying simulation. Nico Rosberg, who finished the session sixth, was the first of the frontrunners to switch to the option tyre, and promptly demonstrated the speed advantage of this soft compound by setting a lap time that beat the previous best lap by over a second. This performance difference will have a huge influence on strategy come race day, assuming it stays dry.

And it may not stay dry even for qualifying. Ominous rain clouds were surrounding the Nürburgring during FP3, and weather forecasts do not look promising for the qualifying session, which begins at 13:00 BST.


German Grand Prix 2011: Free Practice 3

Pos No Driver Team Time Laps
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Austria Red Bull 1:30.916 15
2 2 Australia Mark Webber Austria Red Bull 1:31.049 16
3 5 Spain Fernando Alonso Italy Ferrari 1:31.138 12
4 3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom McLaren 1:31.578 13
5 4 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom McLaren 1:31.623 14
6 8 Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes 1:31.694 19
7 6 Brazil Felipe Massa Italy Ferrari 1:32.144 13
8 14 Germany Adrian Sutil India Force India 1:32.391 20
9 7 Germany Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes 1:32.523 16
10 12 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Williams 1:32.751 18
11 10 Russian Federation Vitaly Petrov United Kingdom Renault 1:32.777 18
12 15 United Kingdom Paul di Resta India Force India 1:32.813 21
13 9 Germany Nick Heidfeld United Kingdom Renault 1:33.072 18
14 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom Williams 1:33.179 17
15 17 Mexico Sergio Perez Switzerland Sauber 1:33.531 20
16 16 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Switzerland Sauber 1:33.671 20
17 18 Switzerland Sebastien Buemi Italy Toro Rosso 1:33.948 21
18 19 Spain Jaime Alguersuari Italy Toro Rosso 1:34.125 19
19 20 Finland Heikki Kovalainen United Kingdom Team Lotus 1:35.385 13
20 24 Germany Timo Glock United Kingdom Virgin Racing 1:36.724 21
21 23 Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi Spain HRT 1:36.804 23
22 25 Belgium Jerome D'Ambrosio United Kingdom Virgin Racing 1:36.894 23
23 21 India Karun Chandhok United Kingdom Team Lotus 1:36.959 18
24 22 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Spain HRT 1:37.554 22
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David is an occasional contributer to the site on matters related to Formula 1. You can follow him on twitter at @Dr_Bean.
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