ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 7, 2011 (AFP) - Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel bounced back to his usual form when he topped the times for Red Bull in the final free practice session Saturday's for the Turkish Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old German made light of missing the entire Friday afternoon session, during which his car was repaired following his collision with barriers, clocking a best time of one minute and 26.037 seconds.
His performance ended seven-times champion Michael Schumacher's hopes of topping the screens for Mercedes, after the German had clocked a lap in 1:26:038 - a gap of just one-thousandth.
Third fastest behind the two Germans was Australian Mark Webber in the second Red Bull ahead of fourth-placed German Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes, a performance that indicated that Mercedes, with a package of good
revisions to their car at the Istanbul Park track, have pushed into a very competitive position.
Britons Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton of McLaren were fifth and sixth fastest respectively, the 2009 champion and his predecessor as the title holder proving unable to prevent the Mercedes resurgence that may threaten Red
Russian Vitaly Petrov of Renault continued his good form also with seventh place ahead of two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso, in the leading Ferrari.
Alonso's team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa was ninth and Swiss Sebastien Buemi was 10th for Toro Rosso.
The session was run in cool and dry conditions under a cloudless blue sky and, at first sight, suggested that Saturday afternoon's qualifying session could see a three-way scrap for pole between the leading men from the Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren teams, with Ferrari languishing again.
Here are the times:
|1||1||S. Vettel||GER||Red Bull-Renault||1:26.037||17|
|3||2||M. Webber||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||1:26.404||16|
|10||18||S. Buemi||SUI||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:27.080||16|
|13||14||A. Sutil||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1:27.318||19|
|16||15||P. di Resta||GBR||Force India-Mercedes||1:27.644||18|
|17||19||J. Alguersuari||ESP||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:27.724||15|