Red Bull on top in final practice session at Suzuka

2012 Japanese Grand Prix third practice

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2012The Red Bull pair headed the times as practice came to an end at Suzuka.

Sebastian Vettel led Mark Webber with a best time of 1’32.136.

But several of their rivals lost time due to traffic on their soft tyre runs at the end of the session, including both of the McLarens.

Jenson Button was held up by Michael Schumacher in 130R and Lewis Hamilton caught Charles Pic at the end of his lap. Hamilton got on the radio and complained to race director Charlie Whiting after his near-miss with the Marussia.

That left Felipe Massa to take third ahead of Michael Schumacher.

The Sauber pair were next, Sergio Perez ahead of Kamui Kobayashi. Romain Grosjean was seventh ahead of the delayed Button.

But for the second session in a row Force India were left with repair work to do. This time it was Nico Hulkenberg who bent his car. The VJM05 snapped sideways as he turned into Degner 2 and he was unable to keep it out of the barriers.

Heikki Kovalainen also went off at Degner but didn’t hit anything.

Kimi Raikkonen endured another difficult session, returning to the pits soon after he began his first run. Late into the session he was still unhappy with the balance of his Lotus and ended up 12th.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.136 17
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’32.371 0.235 20
3 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’32.824 0.688 13
4 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’32.918 0.782 23
5 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’32.920 0.784 19
6 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’32.924 0.788 15
7 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’33.008 0.872 21
8 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.025 0.889 14
9 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’33.094 0.958 17
10 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’33.160 1.024 16
11 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’33.184 1.048 14
12 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’33.224 1.088 15
13 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.569 1.433 16
14 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.722 1.586 18
15 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’33.899 1.763 23
16 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’33.984 1.848 19
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’34.023 1.887 19
18 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’34.369 2.233 11
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’35.568 3.432 19
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’36.355 4.219 18
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’36.389 4.253 11
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’36.517 4.381 18
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’36.649 4.513 12
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’36.875 4.739 16

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’36.366 1’32.836 1’32.136 -0.7 77
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’34.856 1’32.493 1’32.371 -0.122 78
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’34.740 1’32.707 1’33.569 +0.862 74
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.283 1’33.614 1’32.824 -0.79 69
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’35.122 1’33.750 1’32.918 -0.832 56
6 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.584 1’33.903 1’32.920 -0.983 79
7 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.199 1’33.983 1’32.924 -1.059 75
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’35.474 1’32.987 1’34.369 +1.382 63
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’35.724 1’33.107 1’33.008 -0.099 77
10 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’34.507 1’33.349 1’33.025 -0.324 56
11 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.484 1’33.093 1’33.184 +0.091 68
12 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’35.299 1’33.094 -2.205 37
13 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’35.478 1’34.300 1’33.160 -1.14 73
14 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’35.691 1’34.291 1’33.224 -1.067 49
15 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’33.499 1’33.984 +0.485 51
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.222 1’35.080 1’33.722 -1.358 77
17 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’35.059 1’33.866 1’33.899 +0.033 60
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.123 1’34.863 1’34.023 -0.84 70
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’35.711 1’35.568 -0.143 60
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’38.295 1’35.870 1’36.355 +0.485 78
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’37.716 1’36.194 1’36.389 +0.195 60
22 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’36.389 24
23 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’38.616 1’36.636 1’36.517 -0.119 71
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’39.043 1’37.701 1’36.649 -1.052 72
25 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’39.688 1’37.342 1’36.875 -0.467 65
26 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’39.374 22

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

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19 comments on Red Bull on top in final practice session at Suzuka

  1. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 6th October 2012, 4:13

    It makes predicting the race a bit more difficult

  2. Eggry (@eggry) said on 6th October 2012, 4:14

    It’s really mixed up. I only can say Red Bull looks good. Mclaren failed to run final flying lap properly, also Ferrari seems appx. 0.6 sec off from the fastest time. Quite hard, quite hard to predict…

  3. Gabriel (@naylamp) said on 6th October 2012, 4:14

    I hope alonso was fully loaded. If not, then he can start to say goodbye to the wdc.

    • Prof Kirk (@prof-kirk) said on 6th October 2012, 4:20

      I hope he wasnt fully loaded and that the championship wont be a runnaway situation

      • Eggry (@eggry) said on 6th October 2012, 4:24

        well you can’t runaway from faster car.

        • Julian (@julian) said on 6th October 2012, 4:35

          The optimist in me hopes that Alonso was focusing on setting up his car perfect for the race knowing he will qualify 5th or 6th at best. And also that Ferrari set Massa up for qualifying in the hope he will start ahead of Alonso and a few others. That way he can hold them up in the race to help Alonso make up a few positions.

          Sadly the realist in me knows my optimistic side will most likely be disappointed.

      • Gabriel (@naylamp) said on 6th October 2012, 4:29

        But even fully loaded all we know he can’t stand a chance (technologically) to beat McLaren or RB in this race.

        • Prof Kirk (@prof-kirk) said on 6th October 2012, 4:35

          I havent even bothered cranking out the calculator and I might be about to make a fool of myself, but doesnt Alonso just need to finish in the points and race his own race for the remainder of the season? Drive extra conservative and let the rest get tangled up for the wins?

          • Gabriel (@naylamp) said on 6th October 2012, 4:42

            Well, if Vettel wins three races and Alonso ends third in those races then the gap becomes -1. So I don’t think is so easy for him.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th October 2012, 7:36

            doesnt Alonso just need to finish in the points and race his own race for the remainder of the season?

            He probably needs to do a lot more than that. ‘Just finishing in the points’ would net him six points in as many races. I wouldn’t bet on Vettel scoring fewer than 35 in the same period.

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 6th October 2012, 7:57

            @naylamp . Honestly, it’s going to be hard for Fernando to even finish on the podium for remaining races. The only a few things that could save Fernando –
            1) Red Bull’s alternators
            2) Mclaren screw ups with Hamilton
            3) Webber disobediently out racing Vettel (highly unlikely though)
            4) Webber, Perez or Button taking a couple of wins in the last few races.
            5) Wet races

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th October 2012, 4:32

      Yeah, I’m really hoping Ferrari and Alonso can pull through. Massa’s pace certainly suggests the car can do it.

      Maybe I’m just petty like that, but I really don’t like Red Bull.

    • mrjlr93 (@mrjlr93) said on 6th October 2012, 4:53

      alonso has to finish ahead of vettel in atleast 2 races to secure any chance of winning the wdc

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th October 2012, 5:03

        When Webber was leading the championship – just after Monaco – Alonso said that his strategy was going to be to race the driver he considered to be the biggest challenge to his title bid. With his lead yo-yoing from race to race, a car that is not as strong as the competition, and the other drivers bickering over championship position, I don’t see why Alonso will change his strategy now and race Vettel.

        I think that’s going to be the smartest way forward this year: picking your battles and fighting them when you know you have the upper hand, and limiting damage when you know that you don’t.

  4. Nirupam (@nirupam) said on 6th October 2012, 4:45

    Well Massa improved by 8 tenths between FP2 and 3. If we assume by almost the same margin Alonso could have improved too, that leaves with his time as 01:32.293
    Clearly Ferrari is the 3rd fastest team here. And given Button’s gearbox penalty I think Alonso will start at P3 or P4. If he can make it further up in the grid, will certainly be a bonus.

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 6th October 2012, 4:59

    Amaizing how much Lotus’ has lost compared to the others. They’ve stalled in the development race !

  6. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 6th October 2012, 11:42

    De La Rosa beaten by Karthikeyan again…surely this can’t actually be the case?!

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