Vettel edges Maldonado for fastest time in final practice

2012 Spanish Grand Prix third practice

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Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

He produced a lap of 1’23.168 to beat Pastor Maldonado to the fastest time of the session.

Lewis Hamilton looked on course for a quick time but had to back off when he caught Kimi Raikkonen and Narain Karthikeyan at the chicane.

The Saubers also looked quick during the session. Sergio Perez led the early running on hard tyres, setting a 1’24.554 in his Sauber.

His time was beaten by Nico Rosberg shortly after the halfway point in the session, the Mercedes driver one of the first to use the soft tyres, lapping in 1’24.070. He was beaten first by the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, and then Perez returned to the top of the times with a 1’23.742.

Perez’s time was eventually beaten by team mate Kamui Kobayashi before Maldonado took over at the top in the final minutes.

Mark Webber was fourth-fastest for Red Bull ahead of Perez and Fernando Alonso, the Ferrari driver 0.639s off the pace in the revised Ferrari.

Vergne, Jenson Button, Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg completed the top ten, which contained cars from eight different teams.

Romain Grosjean hit trouble early in the session when he stopped with a loss of fuel pressure at La Caixa. The Lotus was returned to the garage with 20 minutes of the session remaining.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’23.16813
218Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’23.3360.16819
314Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’23.3500.18219
42Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’23.5780.41016
515Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’23.7420.57422
65Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’23.8070.63915
717Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’23.8330.66514
83Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’23.9090.74113
99Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’23.9360.76816
108Nico RosbergMercedes1’24.0700.90224
116Felipe MassaFerrari1’24.1791.01116
1212Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’24.3231.15517
1316Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’24.3311.16315
1419Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’24.4091.24118
1511Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’24.5991.43115
164Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’24.7781.61015
177Michael SchumacherMercedes1’24.8251.65717
1821Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’25.9112.74320
1920Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’26.5873.41920
2025Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’27.4694.30118
2124Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’27.6894.52116
2223Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’28.2075.03924
2322Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’28.3735.20513
2410Romain GrosjeanLotus-RenaultNot ime2

Spanish Grand Prix combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’24.8081’23.5631’23.168-0.39569
2Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’26.2971’24.4681’23.336-1.13277
3Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’24.9121’24.2141’23.350-0.86488
4Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’24.9961’23.3991’23.909+0.5175
5Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’25.5391’24.0651’23.578-0.48773
6Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’25.9181’24.4221’23.742-0.6873
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’25.6071’23.7711’24.070+0.29985
8Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’24.4301’24.6001’23.807-0.62368
9Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’25.3671’24.7331’23.833-0.970
10Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.2521’23.9091’24.778+0.86967
11Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’25.2851’23.9181’23.936+0.01877
12Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’25.2171’23.96455
13Michael SchumacherMercedes1’25.1871’24.0801’24.825+0.74568
14Felipe MassaFerrari1’25.4331’24.4181’24.179-0.23972
15Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’25.3391’24.3651’24.323-0.04263
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’26.2261’24.7691’24.331-0.43876
17Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’25.0471’24.409-0.63860
18Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’24.6881’24.599-0.08945
19Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’25.120
20Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’27.4751’26.7401’25.911-0.82975
21Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’26.2961’26.587+0.29156
22Jules BianchiForce India-Mercedes1’26.630
23Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’28.2671’27.3141’27.689+0.37564
24Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’28.6331’27.6641’27.469-0.19570
25Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’28.20726
26Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’29.1071’28.2351’28.373+0.13858
27Alexander RossiCaterham-Renault1’28.448
28Dani ClosHRT-Cosworth1’31.618

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

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Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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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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27 comments on “Vettel edges Maldonado for fastest time in final practice”

  1. Well, that just makes qualifying and the race even harder to predict.

    Not that I’m complaining.

  2. Ken (@myxomatosis)
    12th May 2012, 11:15

    I’m pretty certain that Hamilton’s first timed lap would have been the fastest of all if it weren’t for the traffic hold up.

    S1 – Vettel – 23.0
    – Hamilton – 22.9
    S2 – Vettel – 31.3
    – Hamilton – 31.3
    S3 – Vettel – 28.7
    – Hamilton – 29.2

    All that Hamilton needed to do was to match Vettel’s S3 time and he would have been fastest.

    1. He probably would have been if he didn’t have the gurken in the HRT who was out for a sunday drive infront of him! loln

    2. Hard to say that knowing that in the first 2 sectors, it was only a tenth that separated them. Anyways, it would have been close nonetheless

    3. Ken (@myxomatosis)
      12th May 2012, 11:22

      Here are the complete lap and sector times for those interested.

    4. I think the data isn’t precise enough for us to know that – for all we know, Vettel might’ve been 0.001s slower in S1 and half a tenth up in S2.

    5. @myxomatosis

      Hamilton’s best sector times were 22.977, 31.378 and 29.289, giving an ‘ultimate lap’ time of 1’23.644, 0.5s off the fastest time.

      He was 15th-fastest in the final sector, 0.6s off the quickest time, so much like with Grosjean yesterday we can only speculate exactly how much time he lost but he would have been in the ballpark for fastest time.

      And, of course, we have no idea how quick Grosjean would have been in this session…

      1. Ken (@myxomatosis)
        12th May 2012, 11:39

        Quite right, he would have been in the ballpark for sure. And with the Williams and Saubers mixing it up and the customary one-lap pace of the Mercedes I think we’re in for a cracking qualifying.

      2. @keithcollantine So that last sector time was on hard tyres or a later lap on the softs? Also, what were Vettel’s precise times for each sector?

  3. We are in for an epic qualifying

    1. Got to admit… I’m really scared! In a good way :P

  4. Top 10 separated by 1s? Nice. Such variation across the field this year. It’s hard to look at one single FP session and draw conclusions but you start to notice trends a few races in. Things are still wildly unpredictable.

  5. What is this? I can’t expect anything!

    1. Sean (@spaceman1861)
      12th May 2012, 11:53

      You can expect a good show :D

  6. Well wow! Very very happy the Williams is looking pretty nifty around this track. It’s never nice to see a team, with so much great racing history, do as badly as they did last year. But it seems they’ve really buckled down and built pretty good car.

    I would love for Q3 to be only RBR, Ferrari, Mclaren, Lotus and Williams. Talk about F1 legacy!!

    1. Talk about F1 legacy!!

      I think Nick Fry would disagree with your list @timi

      1. WOW!! How on earth did I miss out the mighty Silver Arrows?!

        Hmm I would replace RBR with Mercedes then :)

  7. FP3 just demonstrated how much the tyres are going to have an influence on the grid for tomorrow’s race & a true, meaningful test for a driver – to extract the most of the tyres on that one lap. A midfield runner may well be starting on the front row for the race – So unpredictable. Looking forward to quali!

  8. Apparently Hamilton has been called to the stewards for impeding MS. Strange for a practice session

      1. seems utterly rediculous to me. Especially considering what happened to Lewis himself, plus the fact it’s only practice

    1. Just don’t understand the psychology that goes on inside some of the Stewards’ heads at times, their mindsets just seem so appalling

      1. Even if he doesn’t get a penalty, his confidence may still be slightly shot for qualifying today, unfortunately.
        How silly.

  9. Seems like Massa is in for some trouble in Q1. He will be slow as usual and then slower cars will come out on softs thus forcing Massa (as well as a few others) to use up their softer tires.

    I won’t be surprised if we see a surprise elimination in Q1

    1. But if you won’t be surprised, how can it be a surprise elimination?

  10. it is now a Lotto as to who can get the best outa their tires.
    certainly makes for a great spectacle, but hard if your supporting one particular team/driver over others,
    so close are the lower teams to the top 4 that now you could even choose one of them to win.
    looking forward to a Fantastic Race.

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