Indian GP: Vettel completes practice sweep

Indian GP: Vettel completes practice sweep

26th Oct 2013 5:40 pm

Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber once again finished one-two ahead of Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg in FP3.

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull remained untouchable in Indian Grand Prix practice, the Formula 1 world champion leading team-mate Mark Webber in a shortened final session ahead of qualifying.

Vettel, quickest in both of Friday's sessions, needed just one lap on the softer tyres to elevate himself to first place with a time of 1m25.332s. He then focused on longer runs with the soft rubber, which he seemed to struggle on as the blistering issues continued.

The German driver did not even complete a run using the harder compound.

Webber finished second, but over 0.5 seconds behind his team-mate, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso the first of the non-Red Bull drivers in third, albeit over seven tenths off Vettel.

Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg showed strong pace once more, the Sauber driver finishing in fourth ahead of Lotus's Romain Grosjean, who completed the top five.

The start of the session was initially delayed by 15 minutes because of visibility problems.

Race control announced a further 15-minute delay moments later, only to then shorten that to five minutes, with the session finally getting underway 20 minutes later than scheduled and the running restricted to 40 minutes.

The decision to shorten the session meant the action was frantic from the start, with most drivers taking to the track right away.

Webber was the initial pacesetter in the Red Bull before Felipe Massa and then team-mate Alonso moved to the top of the times, before the Australian driver regained the top spot moments later.

Twelve minutes in, it was McLaren's Sergio Perez who went quickest by just 0.044s as the top four were covered by less than a tenth of a second.

Alonso then regained first place before Vettel completed his first soft-tyre run with a time that was over 1.5s quicker than anybody else and also the best lap of the weekend so far, a 1m25.332s.

Webber also tried the soft tyres before the halfway point, but the Australian was over half a second off his team-mate's pace.

Red Bull, struggling with the degradation of the soft tyres this weekend, seemed to focus mainly on solutions to extend the life of the rubber.

Despite everyone trying the soft tyres as the session progress, no one could get close to Vettel's time.

The only significant incident of the session involved Hulkenberg hitting one of his Sauber mechanics when returning to the pits. The mechanic took a tumble but got up on his own and seemed to suffer no serious injuries.

Pos Driver                Team                   Time        Gap    Laps
 1. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m25.332s           16
 2. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m25.892s  +0.560s  14
 3. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m26.105s  +0.773s  19
 4. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari         1m26.306s  +0.974s  17
 5. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1m26.350s  +1.018s  16
 6. Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m26.435s  +1.103s  20
 7. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m26.438s  +1.106s  15
 8. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m26.441s  +1.109s  19
 9. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m26.489s  +1.157s  15
10. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes               1m26.557s  +1.225s  17
11. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m26.635s  +1.303s  14
12. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1m26.641s  +1.309s  13
13. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes       1m26.737s  +1.405s  13
14. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1m26.847s  +1.515s  17
15. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m26.876s  +1.544s  17
16. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault       1m26.883s  +1.551s  15
17. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m27.259s  +1.927s  18
18. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault       1m27.941s  +2.609s  18
19. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari         1m28.019s  +2.687s  15
20. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault       1m28.498s  +3.166s  16
21. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth      1m29.094s  +3.762s  11
22. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth      1m29.169s  +3.837s  13

 

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