Button still quickest at Suzuka in final practice

2011 Japanese GP third practice

Jenson Button, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011

Jenson Button, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011

Jenson Button was fastest for the third session in a row at Suzuka in final practice.

The McLaren driver set a 1’31.255 to head the times with ten minutes left to run and it remained unbeaten.

Team mate Lewis Hamilton made it a McLaren one-two but was half a second off his team mate’s time.

Sebastian Vettel’s final flying run put him third on a1’32.122, a tenth of a second faster than Fernando Alonso.

There couldn’t have been a bigger contrast between the conditions of this year’s final practice session and last year’s, when only two drivers set times in pouring rain.

Bright, sunny skies greeted the drivers for today’s final hour of practice.

Approaching the halfway point in the session the red flags came out as Bruno Senna hit the barrier at Spoon curve. The Renault driver lost control of his car at the exit of the corner and hit the wall at the inside of the turn, tearing the front-left wheel of his car.

The session restarted after a seven-minute interruption but Vitantonio Liuzzi wasn’t able to get much more running in. His car came to a stop with an hydraulic problem.

As Narain Karthikeyan drove his car in first practice, and Liuzzi suffered a problem on his car in the second session, the HRT driver has managed just 12 laps so far this weekend.

The Mercedes drivers made an early switch to soft tyres. First Nico Rosberg, then Michael Schumacher headed the times.

Despite an early delay Mark Webber went quickest on the medium tyres, beating Button’s fastest time on the harder rubber.

When Button took to the track on the soft tyres with ten minutes to go he went quickest and no-one was able to beat his time.

Webber ended up fifth ahead of the Felipe Massa, the Mercedes of Schumacher and Rosberg, Vitaly Petrov and Adrian Sutil.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap
1 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’31.255 13
2 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’31.762 0.507 16
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.122 0.867 18
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’32.279 1.024 16
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’32.401 1.146 14
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’32.429 1.174 16
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’32.725 1.470 19
8 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.878 1.623 17
9 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’33.058 1.803 15
10 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’33.424 2.169 14
11 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.469 2.214 18
12 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.545 2.290 18
13 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.818 2.563 17
14 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.836 2.581 21
15 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’33.990 2.735 16
16 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’34.321 3.066 21
17 9 Bruno Senna Renault 1’35.289 4.034 5
18 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’35.651 4.396 18
19 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’36.327 5.072 16
20 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’36.912 5.657 14
21 25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’37.938 6.683 17
22 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’38.011 6.756 16
23 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’38.355 7.100 19
24 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’41.097 9.842 8

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Sat/Fri Laps
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.634 1’31.901 1’31.255 -0.646 65
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.725 1’33.245 1’31.762 -1.483 60
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’34.372 1’32.075 1’32.279 +0.204 74
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’34.090 1’32.095 1’32.122 +0.027 75
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’34.426 1’32.147 1’32.401 +0.254 67
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.585 1’32.448 1’32.429 -0.019 77
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’36.033 1’32.710 1’32.725 +0.015 67
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’38.197 1’32.982 1’32.878 -0.104 62
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’36.370 1’33.446 1’33.058 -0.388 69
10 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’33.790 1’33.424 -0.366 50
11 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’35.590 1’33.681 1’33.469 -0.212 76
12 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’34.937 1’33.705 1’33.545 -0.16 66
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.948 1’36.038 1’33.818 -2.22 74
14 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.103 1’34.393 1’33.836 -0.557 85
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’36.949 1’34.601 1’33.990 -0.611 71
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’38.446 1’38.387 1’34.321 -4.066 45
17 Bruno Senna Renault 1’36.487 1’34.557 1’35.289 +0.732 50
18 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’38.331 1’37.123 1’35.651 -1.472 43
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’36.225 1’36.912 +0.687 49
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’39.168 1’39.800 1’36.327 -2.841 50
21 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’36.700 21
22 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’40.872 1’37.440 1’38.011 +0.571 59
23 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’41.019 1’38.093 1’37.938 -0.155 71
24 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’41.106 1’38.763 1’38.355 -0.408 80
25 Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1’39.946 22
26 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’42.480 1’41.097 -1.383 12
27 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’41.775 25

Image ?? McLaren

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12 comments on Button still quickest at Suzuka in final practice

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th October 2011, 4:17

    Button is looking extraordinarily switched-on this weekend, but I think the smart money is still on Vettel for pole.

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 8th October 2011, 4:30

      Agreed. Though I would never have guessed that. Suzuka is not a circuit where you can be smooth and be fast usually. You have to push and carry as much speed as you can while not ******* up; which is not easy

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th October 2011, 4:57

      Yes, I expect Vettel to pull out his customary 3-8 tenths in Q3 to put it there again. Maybe he will have one, or both McLarens pretty close though so he will really have to do both fast laps instead of breaking off as he has done recently.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 8th October 2011, 12:35

      You’re right once again! Vettel’s advantage has always been great in qualifying, but Jenson has been driving so well he cut it to just 9 thousandths!

  2. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 8th October 2011, 4:32

    Button is doing his job right.

  3. Lachie (@lachie) said on 8th October 2011, 4:48

    Stunning lap from Vettel, never saw it coming….. wait what session was this?

  4. west (@west) said on 8th October 2011, 4:51

    Both button and hamilton looks confident this weekend and they seem to have an advantage on the red bull so it looks a solid weekend for marclen.

  5. Manter MBS (@sridharbhanu) said on 8th October 2011, 4:57

    So, FI back in top ten. But as clubforce said, P9 to P15 gap is less than a second. Q2 & Q3 should be very interesting.

  6. west (@west) said on 8th October 2011, 5:04

    Not 100% awake i meant mclaren are on fire this weekend we need this pole at suzuka and it will be great to be on pole

  7. Eggry (@eggry) said on 8th October 2011, 5:41

    Well done Button, still I fear Redbull’s counter attack.

  8. vho (@) said on 8th October 2011, 5:56

    I’d still like to see both McLarens qualify ahead of the two Red Bulls given (if the predictions are right) the RBs are about 1sec+ faster on the heavier fuel load. This should make top viewing for the start of the race and towards the end if RB ain’t able to make much gains from their race start. Would also be nice to see Alonso do another lightning start to get ahead of Vettel. Would be good to see how Vettel copes with having the faster car in the heavy fuel load and having to overtake – wonder what is appetite for risk would be given he only need 1 point to secure the WDC.

  9. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th October 2011, 9:26

    Looks like Button is on it this weekend! Here’s hoping he can do something magic from P2.

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