September 21st, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Sebastian Vettel has set the fastest lap time in the third and final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix. The reigning World Champion lapped the Marina Bay circuit in 1 minute 44.173 seconds, just under a tenth of a second quicker than his best effort from Friday practice, and 0.191 seconds faster than second-placed Romain Grosjean. Nico Rosberg completed the top three for Mercedes.
Vettel's pace came as no surprise at all, after he totally dominated Friday's second practice session. It was Grosjean who impressed during FP3, coming close to besting Vettel's time and illustrating that he is driving well in a car that is much improved overnight. It now remains to be seen whether or not Grosjean can carry that pace into qualfiying and compete for pole position.
In the other Lotus, Kimi Raikkonen was only 12th fastest, but had his first supersoft tyre flying lap compromised by traffic. As a result, he chose to abort the lap and tried again after a cool-down lap. By that point, however, his tyres had lost their initial maximum performance and he was not able to deliver the lap time Grosjean had shown was in the car.
While Lotus have taken a clear step forward overnight, Mercedes do not seem to have found quite as much performance. Nico Rosberg was quickest of the Silver Arrows drivers for the second consecutive practice session, but was still six tenths off the pace of Vettel. He did, however, manage to be quicker than the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.
Webber, for his part, was quicker than Vettel on the medium tyres and led the session until the last 10 minutes when the supersoft tyre runs started. He was then unable to stay at the top of the order and fell to fifth fastest, 0.733 seconds behind Vettel and just a fraction in front of the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
Fernando Alonso set the sixth fastest time in the session, improving to 1.084 seconds off the pace after being four tenths slower than that on Friday. Ferrari mechanics were seen working on Alonso's front suspension in the latter part fo the session, possibly searching for more front grip, or perhaps repairing damage caused by a minor brush with the wall. If Alonso did make contact with the wall, it wasn't shown on the television pictures. Felipe Massa was tenth in the other Ferrari.
McLaren continued their strong weekend, with both cars in the top ten. They will be hoping to qualify well today and then finish with both cars in the points tomorrow.
Full results from FP3:
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:44.173||15|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:44.906||0.733||14|
|16||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:46.879||2.706||16|
|18||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:47.249||3.076||19|
|19||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:48.931||4.758||17|