Vettel comfortably fastest in final practice

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Vettel looks hard to catch in Barcelona

Sebastian Vettel gave a powerful indication he intends to take his fourth pole position of the year this afternoon after topping the final practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Vettel was fastest by seven tenths of a second but practice was once again disrupted by a crash – this time it was Renaultls Vitaly Petrov in the wall.

With rain falling overnight the track was slippery when the session began. After the installation laps the first ten minutes were silent until Nico Hulkenberg ventured onto the track, making up for lost time after his crash in practice two yesterday.

Both Saubers were also out early and Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest time to begin with.

But a damp kerb at turn four caught him out and the C29 spun to a stop in the gravel bed. Then Vitaly Petrov hit the same kerb and spun into the barriers, damaging the front and rear of his Renault.

That brought out the red flags just as many of the drivers had gone out for their first runs. Marshals took to the track with brooms to clear water from the kerbs and Petrov’s Renault returned to the pits on a flatbed truck for the second weekend in a row in practice three.

Once the session resumed the McLarens went quickest but were soon relegated by the Red Bulls.

When Lewis Hamilton switched to the soft tyres he still couldn’t find the time to beat the RB6s – and when Sebastian Vettel put the option tyres on he improved his time by seven tenths of a second.

Mark Webber aborted his run on the soft tyres. There were yellow flags out at the time as the marshals recovered Adrian Sutil’s Force India, which coasted to a halt on the exit of Campsa.

Unusually only three drivers bettered their times in final practice: Hulkenberg, following his crash yesterday, Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock, the latter running heavily updated versions of the Lotus and Virgin cars respectivelu.

Pos.CarDriverCarBest lapLaps
15Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’20.52815
26Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’21.2320.70411
32Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’21.3480.8214
41Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’21.3760.84816
53Michael SchumacherMercedes1’21.5831.05514
67Felipe MassaFerrari1’21.7491.22116
74Nico RosbergMercedes1’22.0131.48514
88Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’22.0911.56315
911Robert KubicaRenault1’22.2421.71420
1014Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’22.3771.84912
1116Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’22.4001.87218
1223Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’22.4121.88411
1322Pedro de la RosaSauber-Ferrari1’22.5271.99920
1410Nico HulkenbergWilliams-Cosworth1’22.6342.10616
1517Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’22.9262.39820
169Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’22.9532.42516
1715Vitantonio LiuzziForce India-Mercedes1’23.5973.06912
1812Vitaly PetrovRenault1’23.8963.3685
1918Jarno TrulliLotus-Cosworth1’24.6104.08214
2019Heikki KovalainenLotus-Cosworth1’24.7454.21711
2124Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’25.7225.19415
2225Lucas di GrassiVirgin-Cosworth1’25.8555.32714
2320Karun ChandhokHRT-Cosworth1’26.6116.08318
2421Bruno SennaHRT-Cosworth1’30.2469.7186

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Total laps
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’22.0261’19.9651’20.52861
2Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’22.0111’20.1751’21.23273
3Michael SchumacherMercedes1’21.7161’20.7571’21.58354
4Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’22.2581’20.8191’22.09164
5Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’21.1341’21.1911’21.34858
6Robert KubicaRenault1’22.2021’21.2021’22.24278
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’22.0701’21.2711’22.01360
8Felipe MassaFerrari1’22.9751’21.3021’21.74963
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’21.6721’21.3641’21.37656
10Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’21.5181’22.37744
11Pedro de la RosaSauber-Ferrari1’21.6721’22.52760
12Vitantonio LiuzziForce India-Mercedes1’23.2841’21.9041’23.59763
13Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’22.4921’21.9311’22.41266
14Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’22.5881’22.1841’22.40079
15Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’23.3121’22.1921’22.95371
16Vitaly PetrovRenault1’22.3971’22.4351’23.89663
17Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’23.1101’22.4491’22.92685
18Nico HulkenbergWilliams-Cosworth1’23.4711’23.7651’22.63443
19Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’23.03021
20Jarno TrulliLotus-Cosworth1’26.2441’24.2091’24.61060
21Heikki KovalainenLotus-Cosworth1’25.3291’24.8941’24.74550
22Lucas di GrassiVirgin-Cosworth1’26.6941’25.0661’25.85568
23Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’26.3401’26.5961’25.72259
24Karun ChandhokHRT-Cosworth1’25.9721’26.61141
25Bruno SennaHRT-Cosworth1’27.7521’26.1521’30.24658
26Christian KlienHRT-Cosworth1’27.25026

2010 Spanish Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    14 comments on “Vettel comfortably fastest in final practice”

    1. could today be the first time Schumacher gets ahead of Rosberg? if he does, then i think we can safely assume he’s back on form

    2. It’s tough to see past Vettel for either pole or the win, especially if it’s dry.

      I’m going to be looking closely at Rosberg this weekend. If Mercedes have changed the car purely to suit Schumacher and it makes Nico go backwards, he can quite rightly feel pretty aggreived at that. He’s done nothing in the first four races to justify the team leaving him hanging out to dry.

      1. I don’t get it. First it is argued that given the same equipment MSC is so much slower than Roseberg. Now again the same equipment is given to both drivers and you are saying that they are helping MSC? Don’t you see the irony there?

        1. Not to mention the fact that like MSC, ROS has stated that he prefers a neutral to oversteering car, not an understeering car. The changes should benefit them both.

    3. WHO wasnt predicting red bulls dominance its very hard to gain enough performance in just a race to beat the red bulls i not a fan but i ussually bet on them like i did in this race people were full of hope for this race mclaren was fastest in practice one like always which doesnt means that mclaren is going to win the race fortunatly they won 2 lottery races stealing precious points to red bull that may be usefull when mclaren reaches red bull pace

    4. He’s back on his new chasis

    5. I think the cooler-than-expected conditions are helping Red Bull. The RB6 obviously produced very high amounts of downforce and works its tyres hard – so much so they were hurting their intermediate tyres in Spain. But on a cool, green track like we had this morning they’ve got a substantial advantage.

      1. Yeah Keith I think you’re spot on with that analysis. You’d think that this might disadvantage them in a hot dry race, but we saw the opposite in Bahrain for Vettel. I think the initial advantage of getting the tyres up to working temperatures usually means that they will be far enough ahead after 10-15 to be able to coast and conserve the tyres before degradation becomes a problem for them.

        Which is why the Bahrain example becomes so important, we saw Vettel being able to pull away and conserve his tyres, but Webber was unable to. I’d love to have seen the Bridgestone data from both cars at that race, but I’m sure that as we move to the warmer races the picture will become clearer.

    6. So Virgins and Chandhok have a 5 place grid penalty and Senna fined for speeding in the pitlane. Not so good for them.

      I don’t get all the criticism of Mercedes. Goven Rosberg’s form they won’t want to shaft him but simply make things easier for the both of them. Rosberg has said the new changes may help him too and the car before had too much understeer for his liking too. Schumi should be quicker than before but in my opinion not because of some plot, but because Schumacher’s style will be more grateful and benefit more from the changes made while Nico will improve just not by as much. Plus, Rosberg admitted he went the wrong way with the set up yesterday and it’s only practice so it’s far too early in my opinion to start critising them. I genuinely think after everything Ross said and did last year that he wants to win but now in a more equal environment, he’s in a tough situation but I think he’s doing a good job. Just my own opinion though!

      I’m pleased RBR have a good car but I’m starting to get very annoyed a how blooming quick it is. Not only are pole predictions easy but it’s very deflating for the opposition! Least Newey’s cars are fragile…

      1. Chandhok too? Why?

        1. I think he changed his gearbox (Chandhok)

          1. Yeah it was a gearbox change I think. 5live said he would have the penalty yesterday. Sorry this reply is stupidly late!

    7. Schuey is back again

    8. Vettel, Hulkenberg, Buemi, Rosberg and Alguersuari all called to stewards for setting fastest time under yellow flags.

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