Formula 1 News

Vettel streets ahead in final German GP practice

The reigning World Champion was three quarters of a second quicker than last weekend's British Grand Prix winner, Nico Rosberg
Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 6th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Sebastian Vettel obliterated all opposition in the third Free Practice session ahead of Sunday's German Grand Prix, lapping three quarters of a second faster than his nearest competitor. Nico Rosberg was best of the rest, just a few thousands of a second faster than the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.

It was a difficult session for Lewis Hamilton, who struggled with oversteer throughout and lacked confidence in the rear-end of his Mercedes during his qualifying simulation right at the end of the session. The Mercedes driver finished the session 1.2 seconds off the pace, over half a second behind his own team-mate.

Hamilton wasn't the only driver to struggled with rear-end grip. Pastor Maldonado complained to the Williams team that his car was difficult to drive, and a few other drivers had big oversteer moments, particularly in the off-camber long turn two. Paul Di Resta and Romain Grosjean were particularly spectacular through that corner, sawing at the wheel while their cars drifted sideways.

The session was broadly about race setup work on the medium tyre, which seems to be the race tyre of choice. The soft compound option tyre did not appear on track until the last 12 minutes of the session, when the teams ran their qualifying simulations. None of the teams and drivers seemed particularly concerned with working on their soft tyre setups, as they are likely to run almost the entire race on the more durable medium tyre.

Ahead of qualifying, Vettel is looking alarmingly quick. If track conditions stay constant, he is likely to take a convincing pole position. Lewis Hamilton, who was so strong in qualifying at last weekend's British Grand Prix, is looking like qualifying could be a difficult session for him. But Mercedes do have two hours before the qualifying session starts in which to work on his setup. How well they can deal with his setup difficulties will become apparent in the results of qualifying.

Full results from FP3:

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:29.517 19
2 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:30.193 0.676 19
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:30.211 0.694 18
4 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:30.621 1.104 16
5 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:30.639 1.122 17
6 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:30.671 1.154 19
7 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.744 1.227 20
8 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:30.781 1.264 18
9 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:30.966 1.449 20
10 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:31.009 1.492 18
11 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.326 1.809 22
12 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:31.405 1.888 20
13 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:31.733 2.216 21
14 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:31.855 2.338 18
15 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.855 2.338 23
16 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:31.898 2.381 19
17 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:31.969 2.452 20
18 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:32.036 2.519 23
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:33.230 3.713 19
20 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:33.470 3.953 22
21 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:33.964 4.447 21
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:34.683 5.166 20

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