Vettel on top in Indian GP final practice

Sebastian Vettel beat Jenson Button to the fastest time in a late battle for the top spot in the final practice session ahead of Indian Grand Prix qualifying.

Just under four tenths of a second separated the Red Bull and McLaren at the end of the hour, with their respective team-mates Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton third and fourth, ahead of the Ferraris.

The Red Bulls had been in command for the majority of the session, with Webber the first of the big guns to set a quick time, before Vettel hit the front and went ever faster until establishing a 1m26.311s benchmark.

When the late qualifying simulations began, Friday pacesetter Felipe Massa (Ferrari) was first to beat Vettel with a 1m26.058s - though his advantage lasted only moments before Button came through with a 1m25.942s.

The McLaren was deposed by Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, which lapped in 1m25.784s, but Button responded on his second flying lap of the run by jumping 0.6s clear with a 1m25.191s.

That looked like it might be sufficient to keep the Briton on top, as although Hamilton and Webber closed in, they were a few fractions of a second shy of Button's time.

But world champion Vettel was still out and as the chequered flag fell, he produced a 1m24.824s to beat Button by 0.367 seconds and set himself up as pole favourite once again.

Behind Webber, Hamilton and Alonso, sixth-placed Massa's front wing continued to vibrate distinctively for much of the session, before apparently being replaced with a different specification for the final run, when it was more stable.

Force India looks strong heading into qualifying, with Paul di Resta seventh and Adrian Sutil ninth, split by NicoRosberg's Mercedes. Both Mercedes had been in the top five until the soft tyre runs. Michael Schumacher ended up 11th behind SebastienBuemi's Toro Rosso.

Local favourite Narain Karthikeyan had a quick spin at the final corner early on but managed to head all the other 'new' teams' drivers for quite a while in his HRT, before ending the morning 22nd.

The only other significant incident was a spin for Bruno Senna on the Renault driver's last lap, in which he was fortunate to miss the barriers, while plenty of drivers continued to explore the limits of the dusty track with minor errors.

 

Pos.

Driver

Team

Time

Laps

1

Sebastian Vettel        

Red Bull-Renault

1m24.824s           

18

2

Jenson Button      

McLaren-Mercedes         

1m25.191s  + 0.367s 

15

3

Mark Webber        

Red Bull-Renault          

1m25.203s  + 0.379s 

19

4

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren-Mercedes

1m25.288s  + 0.464s

16

5

Fernando Alonso    

Ferrari                         

1m25.784s  + 0.960s 

17

6

Felipe Massa       

Ferrari             

1m26.058s  + 1.234s 

16

7

Paul di Resta      

Force India-Mercedes

1m26.785s + 1.961s    

19

8

NicoRosberg       

Mercedes             

1m26.873s  + 2.049s 

22

9

Adrian Sutil       

Force India-Mercedes

1m26.958s  + 2.134s 

35

10

Sebastien Buemi

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

1m27.146s  + 2.322s 

20

11

Michael Schumacher 

Mercedes             

1m27.146s  + 2.322s 

21

12

Bruno Senna        

Renault              

1m27.217s  + 2.393s 

20

13

Kamui Kobayashi    

Sauber-Ferrari

1m27.262s  + 2.438s 

19

14

Vitaly Petrov      

Renault               

1m27.280s  + 2.456s 

18

15

Jaime Alguersuari  

Toro Rosso-Ferrari   

1m27.387s  + 2.563s 

20

16

Sergio Perez       

Sauber-Ferrari       

1m27.749s  + 2.925s 

21

17

Pastor Maldonado   

Williams-Cosworth

1m27.793s  + 2.969s   

17

18

Rubens Barrichello 

Williams-Cosworth    

1m27.875s  + 3.051s 

20

19

JarnoTrull

Lotus-Renault        

1m29.355s  + 4.531s 

21

20

Heikki Kovalainen  

Lotus-Renault        

1m29.750s  + 4.926s 

19

21

Timo Glock

Virgin-Cosworth

1m30.683s  + 5.859s 

23

22

Narain Karthikeyan   

HRT-Cosworth         

1m30.900s  + 6.076s 

25

23

Jerome D'Ambrosio  

Virgin-Cosworth  

1m32.851s  + 8.027s 

19

24

Daniel Ricciardo   

HRT-Cosworth

1m33.246s  + 8.422s 

16

Story: Autosport.com

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India’s first proper sportscar, the DC Avanti, driven, the new Mini Cooper D road tested, a pair of exciting new Marutis and a whole lot more, in this month’s issue.
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Autocar Magazine

Issue: 184 | Autocar India: December 2014

India’s first proper sportscar, the DC Avanti, driven, the new Mini Cooper D road tested, a pair of exciting new Marutis and a whole lot more, in this month’s issue.
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