Vettel remains on top in India

2012 Indian Grand Prix third practice

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Sebastian Vettel was the fastest driver for the third session in a row in practice for the Indian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull pair hit the top of the times as soon as they joined the track in the first session, Vettel leading the way on a 1’25.892.

To begin with their closest rivals were over a second behind, but Lewis Hamilton soon cut that deficit to 0.259s.

Ferrari didn’t start lapping until halfway through the session. Soon after Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa appeared on the track the two began running in each other’s slipstreams on the main straight, seemingly practising getting a tow for qualifying.

Vettel only improved his time by five-hundredths of a second after switching from the hard to soft tyres. Button moved up to second behind him.

Webber took third following a spin at the final corner, with the other McLaren of Hamilton in fourth.

Alonso could do no better than seventh behind the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Bruno Senna’s Williams, the latter running high in the top ten on several occasions during the session.

Nico Hulkenberg, Michael Schumacher and Romain Grosjean completed the top ten.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’25.84220
23Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’26.0340.19217
32Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’26.1080.26618
44Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’26.1510.30921
59Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’26.2090.36722
619Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’26.2140.37224
75Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’26.5210.67915
812Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’26.5310.68921
97Michael SchumacherMercedes1’26.6520.81021
1010Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’26.6640.82221
116Felipe MassaFerrari1’26.6910.84913
1218Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’27.1401.29818
1315Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’27.1621.32021
1411Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’27.1931.35122
158Nico RosbergMercedes1’27.2291.38721
1616Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.3741.53221
1717Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.7111.86920
1814Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’27.9832.14119
1920Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’29.0353.19320
2021Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’29.2373.39520
2124Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’29.6173.77520
2225Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’30.2984.45620
2323Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’30.8244.98222
2422Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’30.8735.03122

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’27.6191’26.2211’25.842-0.37977
2Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’27.9291’27.1821’26.034-1.14863
3Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’28.1751’26.3391’26.108-0.23173
4Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’28.0461’27.1311’26.151-0.9884
5Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’29.2911’27.0301’26.209-0.82186
6Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’27.7381’26.214-1.52460
7Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’28.0441’26.8201’26.521-0.29973
8Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’29.8501’27.2331’26.531-0.70277
9Michael SchumacherMercedes1’28.9931’28.2221’26.652-1.5781
10Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’29.8951’27.3971’26.664-0.73376
11Felipe MassaFerrari1’28.5421’28.2961’26.691-1.60560
12Nico RosbergMercedes1’28.4471’27.0221’27.229+0.20784
13Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’30.0411’28.5961’27.140-1.45682
14Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’28.1781’27.162-1.01660
15Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’29.7601’28.0041’27.193-0.81177
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’29.2041’28.2391’27.374-0.86582
17Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’30.4011’29.1671’27.711-1.45678
18Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’29.8021’28.4551’27.983-0.47277
19Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’29.3201’29.035-0.28563
20Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’30.6301’29.6061’29.237-0.36966
21Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’32.3691’31.1131’29.617-1.49674
22Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’29.69126
23Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’31.9031’31.4931’30.298-1.19573
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’32.1251’31.3721’30.824-0.54866
25Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’32.8591’30.9501’30.873-0.07772
26Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’30.89620

2012 Indian 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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22 comments on “Vettel remains on top in India”

  1. This might be how it ends. I mean the championship.

    1. @eggry This feels like one of those weekends where all the interesting stuff is happening off the track: the Concorde discussions, Ferrari’s latest escapade, the press chasing after Mallya.

      However I doubt Ferrari are quite as slow as they look on the times sheets and judging by Senna’s pace, Williams may have a surprise in store.

      I doubt there’s going to be much to get excited about in the battle for pole, but there’s intrigue elsewhere.

      And the championship is far from over. Only six points in it. If Vettel’s alternator goes again we could easily end up heading to Abu Dhabi with Alonso in the lead.

      1. Yes, anything can happen. But I’m not quite optimistic now.

    2. until the alternator fails again and throws it on its head :)

  2. Mclaren look to be back on the pace, and even Lotus and Williams could get in the mix. That is bad news for Alonso unfortunately, if he ends up behind them, with Vettel ahead of them. But I’m sure that come Sunday afternoon, Alonso will get a solid result.

  3. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
    27th October 2012, 7:43

    Ferrari’s updates evidently haven’t improved their qualifying pace, but in yesterday’s practice sessions, they did show some signs of strong race pace, so the championship isn’t over just yet. Button looks to be in a position to challenge the Red Bulls, maybe even split them on the grid, while Vettel looks set to claim pole. Could Bruno Senna be a surprise performer this weekend?

  4. It’s good to see McLaren looing a little closer, even if them posing any real threat to Red Bull still seems impossible. It’s irritating to see Ferrari so far off, though. I don’t expect Alonso can do much more than he already has been, and if the car is as far removed from the pace of the competition as it appears to be, I think they’re going to be waving goodbye to this title before even the final race. Vettel and Adrian do have a way of taking the fun out of everything. It’s not just that the car is fast, it’s speed is just plain dominating. I do wish Vettel had a more competitive driver on the other side of the garage. This is no insult to Mark, who is more than a match for Vettel on his day, it’s just that his days are so infrequent compared to all the other top drivers. It makes Vettel’s feats look far easier than they should. I just think it would give more insight in to just how good he is, were he to go up against the likes of Alonso or Hamilton. Alas, that’s never likely to happen. And going on this weekend’s results thus far, plus the last couple of races, I’m predicting Vettel will be on pole; Vettel will win the race and will storm to the title in a car that just can’t seem to be touched by the opposition.

    I’m a tad concerned about any potential issues with Hamilton’s car. Given that both he and Jenson suffered some problematic shifting in the gearbox during the previous practice session, his odd slide in to the last turn and pulling over to the side of the track is a little worrying. Please, McLaren, don’t make him suffer his fourth car issue on the trot.

    1. Alonso has a much easier team-mate than Vettel has, currently he doesn’t have the car though.

      1. Yes, but Alonso has gone up against Hamilton. Some of Vettel’s success could be attribued to having a car for most of the last four years that far exceeds what Hamilton or Alonso have been given. He’s on the brink of passing both and getting his third title. I’m just not sure he’d have done as he has if he’d gone head-to-head with either of these two. I don’t think he’d look as good as some people make him out to be. Generally, when the car isn’t there, he’s not achieveing the same feats that Alonso and Hamilton have so often in inferior machines.

    2. Mark Webber might be inconsistent in the races, but he is one hell of a qualifier, or as puts it, qualifying ace. Mark Webber outqualified his pre-Vettel team mates in 83% of the times, a stat firmly in between Michael Schumacher (76%) and Ayrton Senna (88%). And what does Vettel do? He outqualifies this very same Mark Webber in 73% of the races.

      Now, you can argue whether or not Webber’s a good measure in races, but in qualifying the results are definitely in.

  5. Looks like Fernando is nothing more than a passenger in this year’s WDC fight. This late in the season, when all the teams have gotten to grips with the tyres and reliability issues, it seems to be all down to the car…. and Sebastian is impossible to beat with the fastest car on the grid.

    1. Yeah, I too feel it’s all but over for him. Sad, given the way he’s fought this year. Vettel has been solid when the car hasn’t been perfect but the drives that Alonso put in early in the season were fantastic. And now it just seems all too easy for Seb since his car is untouchable and his nearest rival in the championship, basically his ONLY rival in the championship has a car that can’t compete. I know some might think I’m shooting my mouth off too early, but I truly feel the championship is going to be all but sealed on Sunday. If Vettel hadn’t had his alternator fail before this it might well have been completely done by this Sunday. Anti-climactic, that’s for sure.

  6. Grand Chelem is one where a driver gets pole, fastest lap, race win and leads every lap.

    Is there any term for when a driver leads every practice session, Q1, Q2, Q3, race win, fastest lap and every lap?

    Vettel has now finished on top of Q2, Q3 last year, led everything in the race, led P1, P2, P3 this year. Is that a record for a driver-circuit combination?

    1. Uber Chelem?

  7. Looks a little better for McLaren but I still don’t see them ruining the RB8’s party. I don’t remember the last time we saw such dominance (if you can call it that in practice) from Red Bull.

    1. Singapore 3 races ago?

  8. Talking of teammates, I do wish Alonso had a semblance of a competitive teammate. Anyways, if Vettel stays the course, he’ll get his third WDC on merit and that would give me a lot of fun. Different strokes and all.

    1. I dont know what you mean by merit? Its not like hes been better than Fernando or Lewis this season, and it seems that he only got his act together once he had the frastest car under him again. I wouldn’t really call that his ‘own merit’

      1. SV did well enough when he wasn’t in the fastest car and was losing out with the alternators so that he could take the WDC lead in the handful of races he has had the best car. Indeed, its his own merit as much as anyone else if they were leading the championship (I do of course, respect the job Alonso has done this year as well).

  9. Raikkonen will win in India:)

  10. You beauty Seb! :D

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