Prac Three: Red Bull takes control

Saturday 6th October 2012

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Prac Three: Red Bull takes control

Prac Three: Red Bull takes control

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were the drivers to beat in Saturday's final practice at Suzuka, half a second on Felipe Massa.

With the track temperature up to 34'C and a few clouds overhead, final practice got underway with Nico Rosberg, who lost track time on Friday as Merc changed his engine, clocked a 1:35.169 to get the ball rolling. His team-mate followed him out and despite a massive lock up, Michael Schumacher went quickest by almost a full second.

As others ventured out to get their morning's work underway there was some fun and games at the Degners as Narain Karthikeyan, Kamui Kobayashi and Heikki Kovalainen all went to play in the kitty litter. All three worked their way back onto the track.

Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado was the next to lead the way with the benchmark down to a 1:33.999. He was overhauled by 2011 Japanese GP winner Jenson Button before he lost out to his team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.052s.

Sebastian Vettel topped the McLarens as it looked to be another day of Red Bull and McLaren battling for the lead as Mark Webber put his RB8 up into fourth place.

Nico Hulkenberg became the first casualty of the Degner as he crashed at the second, damaging the front of his Force India.

With 15 minutes to go the drivers swapped to the softer tyres with Schumacher hitting the front with a 1:32.918. Webber overhauled him by half a second with Vettel then topping him by two tenths. Felipe Massa was third. However, it must be noted that neither McLaren had a decent run on the soft tyres.

Times
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:32.136 17 laps
2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:32.371 0.235 20 laps
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:32.824 0.688 13 laps
4 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:32.918 0.782 23 laps
5 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:32.920 0.784 18 laps
6 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:32.924 0.788 15 laps
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:33.008 0.872 20 laps
8 Jenson Button McLaren 1:33.025 0.889 16 laps
9 Paul di Resta Force India 1:33.094 0.958 17 laps
10 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:33.160 1.024 16 laps
11 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:33.184 1.048 13 laps
12 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:33.224 1.088 14 laps
13 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:33.569 1.433 14 laps
14 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:33.722 1.586 18 laps
15 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.899 1.763 23 laps
16 Bruno Senna Williams 1:33.984 1.848 19 laps
17 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:34.023 1.887 19 laps
18 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:34.369 2.233 11 laps
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:35.568 3.432 19 laps
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:36.355 4.219 18 laps
21 Timo Glock Marussia 1:36.389 4.253 11 laps
22 Charles Pic Marussia 1:36.517 4.381 17 laps
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:36.649 4.513 12 laps
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:36.875 4.739 16 laps

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