Sebastian Vettel sent out a warning to his rivals for qualifying after setting the fastest lap in the final practice session at the NÃ¼rburgring 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 NÃ¼rburgring 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
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:30.916||15|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:31.049||16|
|8||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:32.391||20|
|12||15||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:32.813||21|
|17||18||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:33.948||21|
|18||19||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:34.125||19|
|19||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Team Lotus||1:35.385||13|
|20||24||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||1:36.724||21|
|22||25||Jerome D'Ambrosio||Virgin Racing||1:36.894||23|
|23||21||Karun Chandhok||Team Lotus||1:36.959||18|