Formula 1 News

Vettel suffers car problems in practice

The rain changed all plans and interrupted the session, which brought unrepresentative times from almost every car. | Updated |
Saturday, March 16, 2013

MELBOURNE, March 16, 2013 (AFP) - World champion Sebastian Vettel had sensonr issue for which the team decided to shut down the engine. Initially, it was though to be an hydraulic problem, but it was later clarified. The session had plenty of rain which upset all the teams' plans in third practice ahead of qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

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Frenchman Romain Grosjean topped the session with a best lap time of one minute 26.929 seconds in his Lotus on dry tyres before rain swept in with three-quarters of the session left.

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All 22 cars swapped over to full wet weather tyres and Grosjean's time stood as the best in the inconclusive final practice before qualifying later Saturday ahead of Sunday's season-opening GP at Melbourne's Albert Park street Circuit.

Vettel failed to finish the session when he pulled off the circuit on his ninth lap and was told on team radio that his Red Bull had hydraulic issues and not to shift gears.

The German three-time world champion clocked a best lap time of 1:29.808 well down on his times registered in Friday's practice.

The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were second and third quickest behind Grosjean before the rain hit.

Alonso clocked 1:27.000 and Brazilian teammate Massa 1:27.241 in the session.

There was still no joy for the troubled McLarens with last year's Melbourne race winner Jenson Button trailing in 17th and teammate Sergio Perez 18th.

The wet weather prevented Lewis Hamilton from clocking an early fast lap in his Mercedes and he posted the slowest time of 1:47.246.

Rain was forecast to continue in qualifying amid tumbling temperatures and strengthening winds.

The times for the last practice session:

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:26.929 14
2 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:27.000 0.071 7
3 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:27.241 0.312 10
4 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:27.533 0.604 9
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:27.625 0.696 12
6 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:27.849 0.920 19
7 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:27.860 0.931 16
8 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:28.069 1.140 15
9 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:28.253 1.324 18
10 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:28.253 1.324 20
11 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:28.486 1.557 13
12 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:29.808 2.879 9
13 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:30.073 3.144 16
14 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:30.388 3.459 17
15 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:30.598 3.669 20
16 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:30.959 4.030 19
17 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.236 6.307 7
18 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.527 6.598 8
19 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:39.232 12.303 13
20 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:39.779 12.850 13
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:42.872 15.943 13
22 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:47.246 20.317 9

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