Vettel comfortably fastest in final practice

Vettel looks hard to catch in Barcelona

Vettel looks hard to catch in Barcelona

Sebastian Vettel gave a powerful indication he intends to take his fourth pole position of the year this afternoon after topping the final practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Vettel was fastest by seven tenths of a second but practice was once again disrupted by a crash – this time it was Renaultls Vitaly Petrov in the wall.

With rain falling overnight the track was slippery when the session began. After the installation laps the first ten minutes were silent until Nico H???lkenberg ventured onto the track, making up for lost time after his crash in practice two yesterday.

Both Saubers were also out early and Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest time to begin with.

But a damp kerb at turn four caught him out and the C29 spun to a stop in the gravel bed. Then Vitaly Petrov hit the same kerb and spun into the barriers, damaging the front and rear of his Renault.

That brought out the red flags just as many of the drivers had gone out for their first runs. Marshals took to the track with brooms to clear water from the kerbs and Petrov’s Renault returned to the pits on a flatbed truck for the second weekend in a row in practice three.

Once the session resumed the McLarens went quickest but were soon relegated by the Red Bulls.

When Lewis Hamilton switched to the soft tyres he still couldn’t find the time to beat the RB6s – and when Sebastian Vettel put the option tyres on he improved his time by seven tenths of a second.

Mark Webber aborted his run on the soft tyres. There were yellow flags out at the time as the marshals recovered Adrian Sutil’s Force India, which coasted to a halt on the exit of Campsa.

Unusually only three drivers bettered their times in final practice: H???lkenberg, following his crash yesterday, Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock, the latter running heavily updated versions of the Lotus and Virgin cars respectivelu.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Laps
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’20.528 15
2 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’21.232 0.704 11
3 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.348 0.82 14
4 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.376 0.848 16
5 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’21.583 1.055 14
6 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’21.749 1.221 16
7 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’22.013 1.485 14
8 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’22.091 1.563 15
9 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’22.242 1.714 20
10 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’22.377 1.849 12
11 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’22.400 1.872 18
12 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.412 1.884 11
13 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.527 1.999 20
14 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’22.634 2.106 16
15 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’22.926 2.398 20
16 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’22.953 2.425 16
17 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’23.597 3.069 12
18 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’23.896 3.368 5
19 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’24.610 4.082 14
20 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’24.745 4.217 11
21 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’25.722 5.194 15
22 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’25.855 5.327 14
23 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1’26.611 6.083 18
24 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’30.246 9.718 6

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Total laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’22.026 1’19.965 1’20.528 61
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’22.011 1’20.175 1’21.232 73
3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’21.716 1’20.757 1’21.583 54
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’22.258 1’20.819 1’22.091 64
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.134 1’21.191 1’21.348 58
6 Robert Kubica Renault 1’22.202 1’21.202 1’22.242 78
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’22.070 1’21.271 1’22.013 60
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’22.975 1’21.302 1’21.749 63
9 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.672 1’21.364 1’21.376 56
10 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’21.518 1’22.377 44
11 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’21.672 1’22.527 60
12 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’23.284 1’21.904 1’23.597 63
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.492 1’21.931 1’22.412 66
14 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’22.588 1’22.184 1’22.400 79
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’23.312 1’22.192 1’22.953 71
16 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’22.397 1’22.435 1’23.896 63
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’23.110 1’22.449 1’22.926 85
18 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’23.471 1’23.765 1’22.634 43
19 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’23.030 21
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’26.244 1’24.209 1’24.610 60
21 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’25.329 1’24.894 1’24.745 50
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’26.694 1’25.066 1’25.855 68
23 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’26.340 1’26.596 1’25.722 59
24 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1’25.972 1’26.611 41
25 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’27.752 1’26.152 1’30.246 58
26 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’27.250 26

2010 Spanish Grand Prix

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14 comments on Vettel comfortably fastest in final practice

  1. Sam said on 8th May 2010, 11:35

    could today be the first time Schumacher gets ahead of Rosberg? if he does, then i think we can safely assume he’s back on form

  2. It’s tough to see past Vettel for either pole or the win, especially if it’s dry.

    I’m going to be looking closely at Rosberg this weekend. If Mercedes have changed the car purely to suit Schumacher and it makes Nico go backwards, he can quite rightly feel pretty aggreived at that. He’s done nothing in the first four races to justify the team leaving him hanging out to dry.

    • Vishy said on 8th May 2010, 12:40

      I don’t get it. First it is argued that given the same equipment MSC is so much slower than Roseberg. Now again the same equipment is given to both drivers and you are saying that they are helping MSC? Don’t you see the irony there?

      • US_Peter said on 8th May 2010, 22:48

        Not to mention the fact that like MSC, ROS has stated that he prefers a neutral to oversteering car, not an understeering car. The changes should benefit them both.

  3. MigueLP said on 8th May 2010, 11:42

    WHO wasnt predicting red bulls dominance its very hard to gain enough performance in just a race to beat the red bulls i not a fan but i ussually bet on them like i did in this race people were full of hope for this race mclaren was fastest in practice one like always which doesnt means that mclaren is going to win the race fortunatly they won 2 lottery races stealing precious points to red bull that may be usefull when mclaren reaches red bull pace

  4. John said on 8th May 2010, 11:44

    He’s back on his new chasis

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th May 2010, 11:51

    I think the cooler-than-expected conditions are helping Red Bull. The RB6 obviously produced very high amounts of downforce and works its tyres hard – so much so they were hurting their intermediate tyres in Spain. But on a cool, green track like we had this morning they’ve got a substantial advantage.

    • JSC said on 8th May 2010, 12:24

      Yeah Keith I think you’re spot on with that analysis. You’d think that this might disadvantage them in a hot dry race, but we saw the opposite in Bahrain for Vettel. I think the initial advantage of getting the tyres up to working temperatures usually means that they will be far enough ahead after 10-15 to be able to coast and conserve the tyres before degradation becomes a problem for them.

      Which is why the Bahrain example becomes so important, we saw Vettel being able to pull away and conserve his tyres, but Webber was unable to. I’d love to have seen the Bridgestone data from both cars at that race, but I’m sure that as we move to the warmer races the picture will become clearer.

  6. steph said on 8th May 2010, 11:53

    So Virgins and Chandhok have a 5 place grid penalty and Senna fined for speeding in the pitlane. Not so good for them.

    I don’t get all the criticism of Mercedes. Goven Rosberg’s form they won’t want to shaft him but simply make things easier for the both of them. Rosberg has said the new changes may help him too and the car before had too much understeer for his liking too. Schumi should be quicker than before but in my opinion not because of some plot, but because Schumacher’s style will be more grateful and benefit more from the changes made while Nico will improve just not by as much. Plus, Rosberg admitted he went the wrong way with the set up yesterday and it’s only practice so it’s far too early in my opinion to start critising them. I genuinely think after everything Ross said and did last year that he wants to win but now in a more equal environment, he’s in a tough situation but I think he’s doing a good job. Just my own opinion though!

    I’m pleased RBR have a good car but I’m starting to get very annoyed a how blooming quick it is. Not only are pole predictions easy but it’s very deflating for the opposition! Least Newey’s cars are fragile…

  7. Alex-Ctba said on 8th May 2010, 12:04

    Schuey is back again

  8. vettelfan said on 8th May 2010, 12:15

    Vettel, Hulkenberg, Buemi, Rosberg and Alguersuari all called to stewards for setting fastest time under yellow flags.

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