Button still quickest at Suzuka in final practice

2011 Japanese GP third practice

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011

Jenson Button was fastest for the third session in a row at Suzuka in final practice.

The McLaren driver set a 1’31.255 to head the times with ten minutes left to run and it remained unbeaten.

Team mate Lewis Hamilton made it a McLaren one-two but was half a second off his team mate’s time.

Sebastian Vettel’s final flying run put him third on a1’32.122, a tenth of a second faster than Fernando Alonso.

There couldn’t have been a bigger contrast between the conditions of this year’s final practice session and last year’s, when only two drivers set times in pouring rain.

Bright, sunny skies greeted the drivers for today’s final hour of practice.

Approaching the halfway point in the session the red flags came out as Bruno Senna hit the barrier at Spoon curve. The Renault driver lost control of his car at the exit of the corner and hit the wall at the inside of the turn, tearing the front-left wheel of his car.

The session restarted after a seven-minute interruption but Vitantonio Liuzzi wasn’t able to get much more running in. His car came to a stop with an hydraulic problem.

As Narain Karthikeyan drove his car in first practice, and Liuzzi suffered a problem on his car in the second session, the HRT driver has managed just 12 laps so far this weekend.

The Mercedes drivers made an early switch to soft tyres. First Nico Rosberg, then Michael Schumacher headed the times.

Despite an early delay Mark Webber went quickest on the medium tyres, beating Button’s fastest time on the harder rubber.

When Button took to the track on the soft tyres with ten minutes to go he went quickest and no-one was able to beat his time.

Webber ended up fifth ahead of the Felipe Massa, the Mercedes of Schumacher and Rosberg, Vitaly Petrov and Adrian Sutil.

Pos.CarDriverCarBest lapGap
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’31.25513
23Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’31.7620.50716
31Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’32.1220.86718
45Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’32.2791.02416
52Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’32.4011.14614
66Felipe MassaFerrari1’32.4291.17416
77Michael SchumacherMercedes1’32.7251.47019
88Nico RosbergMercedes1’32.8781.62317
910Vitaly PetrovRenault1’33.0581.80315
1014Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’33.4242.16914
1118Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.4692.21418
1219Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.5452.29018
1316Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’33.8182.56317
1417Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’33.8362.58121
1515Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’33.9902.73516
1612Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’34.3213.06621
179Bruno SennaRenault1’35.2894.0345
1811Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’35.6514.39618
1921Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’36.3275.07216
2020Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’36.9125.65714
2125Jerome D’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’37.9386.68317
2224Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’38.0116.75616
2322Daniel RicciardoHRT-Cosworth1’38.3557.10019
2423Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth1’41.0979.8428

Combined practice times

1Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’33.6341’31.9011’31.255-0.64665
2Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’33.7251’33.2451’31.762-1.48360
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’34.3721’32.0751’32.279+0.20474
4Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’34.0901’32.0951’32.122+0.02775
5Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’34.4261’32.1471’32.401+0.25467
6Felipe MassaFerrari1’35.5851’32.4481’32.429-0.01977
7Michael SchumacherMercedes1’36.0331’32.7101’32.725+0.01567
8Nico RosbergMercedes1’38.1971’32.9821’32.878-0.10462
9Vitaly PetrovRenault1’36.3701’33.4461’33.058-0.38869
10Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’33.7901’33.424-0.36650
11Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’35.5901’33.6811’33.469-0.21276
12Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’34.9371’33.7051’33.545-0.1666
13Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’36.9481’36.0381’33.818-2.2274
14Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’37.1031’34.3931’33.836-0.55785
15Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’36.9491’34.6011’33.990-0.61171
16Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’38.4461’38.3871’34.321-4.06645
17Bruno SennaRenault1’36.4871’34.5571’35.289+0.73250
18Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’38.3311’37.1231’35.651-1.47243
19Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’36.2251’36.912+0.68749
20Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’39.1681’39.8001’36.327-2.84150
21Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’36.70021
22Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’40.8721’37.4401’38.011+0.57159
23Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’41.0191’38.0931’37.938-0.15571
24Daniel RicciardoHRT-Cosworth1’41.1061’38.7631’38.355-0.40880
25Karun ChandhokLotus-Renault1’39.94622
26Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth1’42.4801’41.097-1.38312
27Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’41.77525

Image ?? McLaren

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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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12 comments on “Button still quickest at Suzuka in final practice”

  1. Button is looking extraordinarily switched-on this weekend, but I think the smart money is still on Vettel for pole.

    1. Agreed. Though I would never have guessed that. Suzuka is not a circuit where you can be smooth and be fast usually. You have to push and carry as much speed as you can while not ******* up; which is not easy

    2. Yes, I expect Vettel to pull out his customary 3-8 tenths in Q3 to put it there again. Maybe he will have one, or both McLarens pretty close though so he will really have to do both fast laps instead of breaking off as he has done recently.

    3. You’re right once again! Vettel’s advantage has always been great in qualifying, but Jenson has been driving so well he cut it to just 9 thousandths!

  2. Button is doing his job right.

  3. Stunning lap from Vettel, never saw it coming….. wait what session was this?

  4. Both button and hamilton looks confident this weekend and they seem to have an advantage on the red bull so it looks a solid weekend for marclen.

  5. So, FI back in top ten. But as clubforce said, P9 to P15 gap is less than a second. Q2 & Q3 should be very interesting.

  6. Not 100% awake i meant mclaren are on fire this weekend we need this pole at suzuka and it will be great to be on pole

  7. Well done Button, still I fear Redbull’s counter attack.

  8. I’d still like to see both McLarens qualify ahead of the two Red Bulls given (if the predictions are right) the RBs are about 1sec+ faster on the heavier fuel load. This should make top viewing for the start of the race and towards the end if RB ain’t able to make much gains from their race start. Would also be nice to see Alonso do another lightning start to get ahead of Vettel. Would be good to see how Vettel copes with having the faster car in the heavy fuel load and having to overtake – wonder what is appetite for risk would be given he only need 1 point to secure the WDC.

  9. Looks like Button is on it this weekend! Here’s hoping he can do something magic from P2.

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