Red Bull dominate final practice in Melbourne

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Sebastian Vettel set a searing pace in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

Vettel was a second faster than any other car and 0.8s faster than team mate Mark Webber.

Jenson Button did an early run on the soft tyres and went fastest.

But Red Bull gave a demonstration of their performance as Sebastian Vettel used hard tyres to beat Button’s time by 0.6 seconds.

Vettel improved his time even further when he changed to soft tyres.

Vitaly Petrov was fifth fastest for Renault ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

The two Williams drivers hit trouble with Pastor Maldonado coming to a halt in a gravel trap. Rubens Barrichello’s session also ended early after a technical problem.

Sauber’s Sergio Perez also wasn’t able to complete the session, rolling into the pits at slow speed halfway through the practice hour.

Vitantonio Liuzzi made a brief appearance in the HRT but only made it as far as turn four before the car shut down. Team mate Narain Karthikeyan was able to complete a single lap, seven minutes before the end of the session.

Late in the session Felipe Massa had an unusual incident when the onboard camera fell off his car, forcing him to abort his run.

Pos.CarDriverCarBest lapGapLaps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’24.50715
22Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’25.3640.85714
33Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.5531.04615
44Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.5671.06016
510Vitaly PetrovRenault1’25.9061.39918
65Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’26.1211.61416
716Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’26.4171.91017
88Nico RosbergMercedes1’26.5202.01317
99Nick HeidfeldRenault1’26.7462.23917
107Michael SchumacherMercedes1’26.8562.34915
1118Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.0082.50117
126Felipe MassaFerrari1’27.0112.50415
1319Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.0662.55914
1415Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’27.0872.58015
1514Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’27.1802.67315
1611Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’28.0683.5617
1717Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’28.0773.5709
1820Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’29.7725.26517
1921Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’30.0035.49618
2024Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’30.2615.75415
2112Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’30.4965.9895
2225Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’30.7046.19718
2322Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’41.55417.0475
2423Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth1

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Total laps
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’27.1581’26.0141’24.50769
2Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’26.8311’26.2831’25.36467
3Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’28.4831’25.9861’25.55372
4Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’28.4401’25.8541’25.56777
5Vitaly PetrovRenault1’28.7651’27.5281’25.90662
6Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’27.7491’26.0011’26.12164
7Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’28.7251’28.0951’26.41765
8Nico RosbergMercedes1’28.1521’27.4481’26.52056
9Michael SchumacherMercedes1’28.6901’26.5901’26.85660
10Nick HeidfeldRenault1’28.9281’27.5361’26.74653
11Felipe MassaFerrari1’28.8421’26.7891’27.01169
12Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’29.3281’27.6971’27.00868
13Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.5251’27.06645
14Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’28.3761’27.08748
15Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’29.6431’27.1011’28.07766
16Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’29.3141’28.5831’27.18065
17Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’28.4301’27.2801’28.06865
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’29.4031’29.3861’30.49658
19Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’29.46823
20Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’32.4281’30.8291’29.77252
21Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’30.9121’30.00341
22Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’35.2891’32.1351’30.26160
23Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’35.2821’32.1061’30.70471
24Nico H???lkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’31.00220
25Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’41.5545

2011 Australian 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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    50 comments on “Red Bull dominate final practice in Melbourne”

    1. Don’t tell me McLaren are faster than Ferrari? Obviously we don’t know fuel loads so we’ll have to see in qualifying but it’s certainly looking that way. Extremely surprising. What isn’t surprising at all is RBR’s pace. I’ll predict right now before they’ve even qualified for the first race that Vettel’s going to win another WDC and the team will get another constructor’s championship.

      Great to see DiResta beat his teammate and Kobayashi and Petrov in the top 10, also beating their teammates!

      HRT and Virgin – obviously HRT are well out of the 107% needed but what about Virgin?

      Anyway, time for an hour’s sleep.

      1. Looks like Ferrari is not quite as good as they had us believe from testing. Massa struggling, Alonso having to battle that car. No, they will not be feeling satisfied here.

        McLaren look solid. But we do not know what Mercedes were doing. And Petrov is really showing just why I do not expect too much of Nick Heidfeld. He just needs to be pushed all the way to perform.

        Sadly it shows exactly where RBR are. A good second ahead possibly. Seb on the softs allegedly had still 30kg of fuel in. Webber did not even do softs. A Seb-Mark battle for pole then.

        Great to see the HRT actually turning a wheel. Narain tweeted he did a total of 4 laps (1 installation, 1 outlap, 1 timed lap and 1 inlap). Glock is within 107% and D Ambrosio only 3 tenths away.
        And it looks like the teams might allow everyone to start at the first race of the year anyhow. Good idea.
        After all the work these teams did to get to Melbourne in the first place and get the cars running, at least have them get milage on.

        1. But if the best that HRT can manage is 1:41 (which is 120%, way past 107%) that’s far too slow and dangerous for race conditions? How can the teams or anyone allow this?

          1. They are just trundling round, and if they are allowed to do so by the teams in the race, I don’t think they’ll go long enough to be lapped.

          2. On the BBC commentary they had some information from the teams about an agreement to allow everyone to go into the race despite the 107% limit.
            It does make sense, no one really knew where they were before this weekend on speed. I bet that if Virgin would have known they were 6 seconds off the pace here they would have looked at bringing something extra.

        2. And Petrov is really showing just why I do not expect too much of Nick Heidfeld.

          … and REALLY makes me miss Kubica. If Petrov’s that far up the time sheet with that car, where would he have been?

          1. I think you’re all reading too much into practice times. And anyway, on the tracks he knew Petrov was very close to Kubica last year in terms of outright pace, if not consistency.

          2. Exactly. Although I do think Petrov improved his game as well. Maybe he can cut out the mistakes a bit and do quite well, his getaways from the grid are pretty good.

            1. Petrov’s certainly improved his game, but who’s to say Kubica wouldn’t have as well?

      2. Sleep? pah! time for some munch lol

        Lets not forget last season Red Bull should have crushed everyone but they made some schoolboy errors. With another year of experience I don’t see them giving away wins this season. All be done and dusted after 12 races or so I reckon, with a mad battle for 2nd.

      3. Ferrari said they were focusing on practice starts

    2. Jeez Narain, even Vincenzo Sospiri was faster than you in his 1997 Lola.

    3. It just remains to see how Red Bull is actually planning to screw it up.

    4. Vettel has definitely put his mark on the timing sheets, what a lap.

      I predict 1.23.750 for Quali with Vettel setting it.

      1. I put a 1:23.477 in the predictions, by Vettel.

        1. I had a 1:23.123 but changed it to a 1.24.123 yesterday and was not in time to go back to the initial time before FP3.

          1. I forgot to update it before I went to bed – I would have changed it the other way though, into the 1:23s, not to longer times :)

      2. I put 1:23.796

    5. If this session reflects true pace I shall be drinking champagne for breakfast

      Go Lewis, Go Mclaren

    6. Ron in Michigan
      26th March 2011, 4:13

      For the life of me I can’t tell if Alonso is sandbagging or not.

      1. I wonder if HRT are sandbagging, ready to surprise us with a sub 1:35 time?

        1. LOL! That would be hilarious.

    7. looks to me as though Jenson has about a 10th over Lewis at the moment

      1. wait till they empty the tanks for qualifying and the car becomes slightly unsettled…

    8. F1 the pinnacle of motorsport? Watching Karthikeyan doing an installation lap in FP3 while others are going flat out was just horrendous and utterly dangerous. That just cannot happen again.

    9. When is this “drinks company” going bust? its getting boring now :(

      1. I’m inclined to agree haha.

      2. I buy tescos ‘kick’ nowadays…not as nice but the taste of red bull was sickening me. Still it taste better than molborough

        Can’t wait for the mp4-12c to finally hit the streets…then I can stop driving my Ferrari…lol

        1. I’ve always prefered Relentless haha

    10. Ugh.

      This season could be the epitome of anticlimaxes.

    11. Q should be very exciting… But I think strategy and race pace will be the order of tomorrow.

    12. Alonso, Massa and Schumacher went slower than yesterday.
      Rosberg matched the time Schumacher did yesterday.

      Clearly they had other concerns than scaring us all like RBR is doing.

    13. zzzzz…HRT will not be racing

    14. Button and Hamilton are satisfyingly close.

    15. Cant help but admire what Red Bull is doing, with that pace strategy will not matter on sunday as they can probably build up a pit stops lead over a stint.
      Aslong as there is a good title battle between Vettel and Webber I dont think it will be a dull season.
      Imagine if Ferrari had the best car by a mile, it would be dull then but aslong as teammates are close thats all you can ask for.
      The HRT looks like it was on the pace of an F3 car out there at best, most certainly shouldnt be allowed to race on safety grounds

      1. People don’t complain when Le Mans has such big differences, and it rarely causes an accident. The dangers of slow cars have been far over-hyped.

        1. Yeah. Unleas you do something silly like Webber and Heikki did :-D

          1. That could have happened between any two cars if they braked at different times.

      2. To be honest I don’t think Karthikeyan was pushing the car. It surely can’t be THAT slow…

        1. He was doing the first real lap in that car, so he was probably just going it slow finding out weather everyting works fine.
          I think they will be doing about the same times as Virgin when they do get some setup on that car.

      3. hrt are carrying out shake down lap for car and after what happen to tonio looked like they where takin it easy

        i dont expect them to qualify but they will be around 108% of fastest q1 time

    16. Petrov ahead of Alonso…. now that’s something

      Is that genuinely Ferrari’s pace?

      1. No, they weren’t interested in going faster in FP3, that’s all. Alonso could take pole here.

        1. I don’t expect they knew they had as much in store as Red Bull though. Let’s hope they do, or we again are back to hoping for Red Bull mistakes or something over the year to keep things interesting.

    17. Blimey! Another season of hoping something breaks on a Red Bull? Argh!

    18. No Way!! No more Redbull dominant!!

      1. These are practice times. Don’t even think that if they take the front row in qualifying they’ll dominate. Do not forget about the new rules and new tyres. This year will probably have a lot more pit stops and strategy will be much more important.

        That being said I do think RBR are gonna get the double championship again.

        1. I hope s…what? No, it’s worse! :P

    19. Decent showing for Petrov, hope he keeps it up. Great stuff from Lotus too, looks promising.

    20. So FP3 was a pretty good indicator of the relative speeds it seems; Hamilton finding something extra, Alonso eking out Petrov, and Heidfeld dropping it in qualifying, Buemi finding his way; but roughly similar picture.

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