Formula 1 News

Vettel still on top in final Monza practice

Sebastian Vettel continues to dominate the Italian Grand Prix weekend. The World Champion set the fastest time in final practice ahead of qualifying
Saturday, September 7, 2013

September 7th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Sebastian Vettel set the pace in final practice for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, lapping the Monza circuit in 1m24.360s, ahead of the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso and the second Red Bull of Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton was fourth for Mercedes.

Red Bull continue to surprise at a track that was not expected to suit their car. The RB9 is not known for its straight-line speed, which is crucial at Monza, but yet Vettel continues to find the speed to dominate proceedings. Ferrari seem to have found some pace overnight, at least on Alonso's car. Alonso looks to be in the hunt for pole position, which will please the adoring Tifosi if he manages to achieve it.

It was an eventful session for Force India. Paul di Resta went straight on at Parabolica, the final corner, ending up with the nose of his car in the barrier, but without any major damage. He told the Force India team, "Something broke there" on the radio, indicating that he was either unable to slow down or unable to turn in to the corner.

Shortly afterwards, Adrian Sutil in the other Force India spun in the Ascari chicane, and Force india found an issue on the rear of his car that kept him in the pits for a while.

Nico Rosberg barely participated in the FP3 session. He had what appeared to be a gearbox issue - the car spent most of the session in the Mercedes garage iwth the gearbox off the car - and completed only 5 timed laps to record the slowest time in the session. Lewis Hamilton demonstrated that Mercedes have some speed by going fourth-fastest in the other Mercedes.

Tyre warm-up seems to be taking longer than expected around Monza, due to the long straights between corners. The tyres build up heat in the corners and then lose the heat down the straights. That has meant that the drivers are not able to extract maximum performance from the tyres on their first flying laps and are having to do longer runs to produce their fastest lap times. Sebastian Vettel did his fastest hard tyre lap on his tenth lap on that set of tyres. Qualifying is therefore likely to see lots of on-track action, rather than having drivers sit in the pits and waiting for a good time to take to the track.

Pastor Maldonado was the surprise inclusion in the top ten in FP3. He went quicker than Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus to set the ninth fastest time for Williams. Ahead of the weekend, Maldonado stated that he was aiming to score points at Monza, and it looks like his Williams car could have the pace to do it.

Full results from FP3:

Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:24.360 18
2 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:24.643 0.283 13
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:24.677 0.317 22
4 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.712 0.352 17
5 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.864 0.504 19
6 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:24.865 0.505 19
7 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:24.995 0.635 14
8 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.103 0.743 15
9 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:25.116 0.756 20
10 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:25.120 0.760 18
11 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:25.136 0.776 16
12 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.273 0.913 21
13 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.324 0.964 22
14 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:25.499 1.139 17
15 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:25.660 1.300 21
16 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:25.702 1.342 19
17 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:26.120 1.760 11
18 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:26.607 2.247 21
19 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:27.172 2.812 20
20 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.605 3.245 18
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.665 3.305 18
22 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:27.822 3.462 5

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