Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2012

Red Bull on top in final practice session at Suzuka

2012 Japanese Grand Prix third practice

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2012The Red Bull pair headed the times as practice came to an end at Suzuka.

Sebastian Vettel led Mark Webber with a best time of 1’32.136.

But several of their rivals lost time due to traffic on their soft tyre runs at the end of the session, including both of the McLarens.

Jenson Button was held up by Michael Schumacher in 130R and Lewis Hamilton caught Charles Pic at the end of his lap. Hamilton got on the radio and complained to race director Charlie Whiting after his near-miss with the Marussia.

That left Felipe Massa to take third ahead of Michael Schumacher.

The Sauber pair were next, Sergio Perez ahead of Kamui Kobayashi. Romain Grosjean was seventh ahead of the delayed Button.

But for the second session in a row Force India were left with repair work to do. This time it was Nico Hulkenberg who bent his car. The VJM05 snapped sideways as he turned into Degner 2 and he was unable to keep it out of the barriers.

Heikki Kovalainen also went off at Degner but didn’t hit anything.

Kimi Raikkonen endured another difficult session, returning to the pits soon after he began his first run. Late into the session he was still unhappy with the balance of his Lotus and ended up 12th.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’32.13617
22Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’32.3710.23520
36Felipe MassaFerrari1’32.8240.68813
47Michael SchumacherMercedes1’32.9180.78223
515Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’32.9200.78419
614Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’32.9240.78815
710Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’33.0080.87221
83Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’33.0250.88914
911Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’33.0940.95817
1018Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’33.1601.02416
115Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’33.1841.04814
129Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’33.2241.08815
134Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’33.5691.43316
1417Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.7221.58618
158Nico RosbergMercedes1’33.8991.76323
1619Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’33.9841.84819
1716Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’34.0231.88719
1812Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’34.3692.23311
1920Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’35.5683.43219
2021Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’36.3554.21918
2124Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’36.3894.25311
2225Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’36.5174.38118
2323Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’36.6494.51312
2422Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’36.8754.73916

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’36.3661’32.8361’32.136-0.777
2Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’34.8561’32.4931’32.371-0.12278
3Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.7401’32.7071’33.569+0.86274
4Felipe MassaFerrari1’35.2831’33.6141’32.824-0.7969
5Michael SchumacherMercedes1’35.1221’33.7501’32.918-0.83256
6Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’35.5841’33.9031’32.920-0.98379
7Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’35.1991’33.9831’32.924-1.05975
8Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’35.4741’32.9871’34.369+1.38263
9Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’35.7241’33.1071’33.008-0.09977
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.5071’33.3491’33.025-0.32456
11Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’35.4841’33.0931’33.184+0.09168
12Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’35.2991’33.094-2.20537
13Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’35.4781’34.3001’33.160-1.1473
14Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’35.6911’34.2911’33.224-1.06749
15Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’33.4991’33.984+0.48551
16Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’36.2221’35.0801’33.722-1.35877
17Nico RosbergMercedes1’35.0591’33.8661’33.899+0.03360
18Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’36.1231’34.8631’34.023-0.8470
19Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’35.7111’35.568-0.14360
20Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’38.2951’35.8701’36.355+0.48578
21Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’37.7161’36.1941’36.389+0.19560
22Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’36.38924
23Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’38.6161’36.6361’36.517-0.11971
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’39.0431’37.7011’36.649-1.05272
25Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’39.6881’37.3421’36.875-0.46765
26Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’39.37422

2012 Japanese 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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19 comments on “Red Bull on top in final practice session at Suzuka”

  1. It makes predicting the race a bit more difficult

  2. It’s really mixed up. I only can say Red Bull looks good. Mclaren failed to run final flying lap properly, also Ferrari seems appx. 0.6 sec off from the fastest time. Quite hard, quite hard to predict…

  3. I hope alonso was fully loaded. If not, then he can start to say goodbye to the wdc.

    1. I hope he wasnt fully loaded and that the championship wont be a runnaway situation

      1. well you can’t runaway from faster car.

        1. The optimist in me hopes that Alonso was focusing on setting up his car perfect for the race knowing he will qualify 5th or 6th at best. And also that Ferrari set Massa up for qualifying in the hope he will start ahead of Alonso and a few others. That way he can hold them up in the race to help Alonso make up a few positions.

          Sadly the realist in me knows my optimistic side will most likely be disappointed.

      2. But even fully loaded all we know he can’t stand a chance (technologically) to beat McLaren or RB in this race.

        1. I havent even bothered cranking out the calculator and I might be about to make a fool of myself, but doesnt Alonso just need to finish in the points and race his own race for the remainder of the season? Drive extra conservative and let the rest get tangled up for the wins?

          1. Well, if Vettel wins three races and Alonso ends third in those races then the gap becomes -1. So I don’t think is so easy for him.

          2. doesnt Alonso just need to finish in the points and race his own race for the remainder of the season?

            He probably needs to do a lot more than that. ‘Just finishing in the points’ would net him six points in as many races. I wouldn’t bet on Vettel scoring fewer than 35 in the same period.

          3. @naylamp . Honestly, it’s going to be hard for Fernando to even finish on the podium for remaining races. The only a few things that could save Fernando –
            1) Red Bull’s alternators
            2) Mclaren screw ups with Hamilton
            3) Webber disobediently out racing Vettel (highly unlikely though)
            4) Webber, Perez or Button taking a couple of wins in the last few races.
            5) Wet races

    2. Yeah, I’m really hoping Ferrari and Alonso can pull through. Massa’s pace certainly suggests the car can do it.

      Maybe I’m just petty like that, but I really don’t like Red Bull.

    3. alonso has to finish ahead of vettel in atleast 2 races to secure any chance of winning the wdc

      1. When Webber was leading the championship – just after Monaco – Alonso said that his strategy was going to be to race the driver he considered to be the biggest challenge to his title bid. With his lead yo-yoing from race to race, a car that is not as strong as the competition, and the other drivers bickering over championship position, I don’t see why Alonso will change his strategy now and race Vettel.

        I think that’s going to be the smartest way forward this year: picking your battles and fighting them when you know you have the upper hand, and limiting damage when you know that you don’t.

  4. Well Massa improved by 8 tenths between FP2 and 3. If we assume by almost the same margin Alonso could have improved too, that leaves with his time as 01:32.293
    Clearly Ferrari is the 3rd fastest team here. And given Button’s gearbox penalty I think Alonso will start at P3 or P4. If he can make it further up in the grid, will certainly be a bonus.

  5. Amaizing how much Lotus’ has lost compared to the others. They’ve stalled in the development race !

    1. Their DDRS is interesting but it requires extremely fine tune which means maybe it never be usable. Let’s see what happen in Korean where they’re supposed to bring more normal updates.

      1. I conclude that DDRS on any car will make it a failure. Look at Mercedes.

  6. De La Rosa beaten by Karthikeyan again…surely this can’t actually be the case?!

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