Vettel remains on top in India

2012 Indian Grand Prix third practice

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Buddh International Circuit, 2012Sebastian Vettel was the fastest driver for the third session in a row in practice for the Indian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull pair hit the top of the times as soon as they joined the track in the first session, Vettel leading the way on a 1’25.892.

To begin with their closest rivals were over a second behind, but Lewis Hamilton soon cut that deficit to 0.259s.

Ferrari didn’t start lapping until halfway through the session. Soon after Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa appeared on the track the two began running in each other’s slipstreams on the main straight, seemingly practising getting a tow for qualifying.

Vettel only improved his time by five-hundredths of a second after switching from the hard to soft tyres. Button moved up to second behind him.

Webber took third following a spin at the final corner, with the other McLaren of Hamilton in fourth.

Alonso could do no better than seventh behind the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Bruno Senna’s Williams, the latter running high in the top ten on several occasions during the session.

Nico Hulkenberg, Michael Schumacher and Romain Grosjean completed the top ten.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’25.842 20
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’26.034 0.192 17
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’26.108 0.266 18
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’26.151 0.309 21
5 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’26.209 0.367 22
6 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’26.214 0.372 24
7 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’26.521 0.679 15
8 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’26.531 0.689 21
9 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’26.652 0.810 21
10 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’26.664 0.822 21
11 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’26.691 0.849 13
12 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’27.140 1.298 18
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’27.162 1.320 21
14 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’27.193 1.351 22
15 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’27.229 1.387 21
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.374 1.532 21
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.711 1.869 20
18 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’27.983 2.141 19
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’29.035 3.193 20
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’29.237 3.395 20
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’29.617 3.775 20
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’30.298 4.456 20
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’30.824 4.982 22
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’30.873 5.031 22

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’27.619 1’26.221 1’25.842 -0.379 77
2 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’27.929 1’27.182 1’26.034 -1.148 63
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’28.175 1’26.339 1’26.108 -0.231 73
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’28.046 1’27.131 1’26.151 -0.98 84
5 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’29.291 1’27.030 1’26.209 -0.821 86
6 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’27.738 1’26.214 -1.524 60
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’28.044 1’26.820 1’26.521 -0.299 73
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’29.850 1’27.233 1’26.531 -0.702 77
9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’28.993 1’28.222 1’26.652 -1.57 81
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’29.895 1’27.397 1’26.664 -0.733 76
11 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’28.542 1’28.296 1’26.691 -1.605 60
12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’28.447 1’27.022 1’27.229 +0.207 84
13 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’30.041 1’28.596 1’27.140 -1.456 82
14 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’28.178 1’27.162 -1.016 60
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’29.760 1’28.004 1’27.193 -0.811 77
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’29.204 1’28.239 1’27.374 -0.865 82
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’30.401 1’29.167 1’27.711 -1.456 78
18 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’29.802 1’28.455 1’27.983 -0.472 77
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’29.320 1’29.035 -0.285 63
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’30.630 1’29.606 1’29.237 -0.369 66
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’32.369 1’31.113 1’29.617 -1.496 74
22 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’29.691 26
23 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’31.903 1’31.493 1’30.298 -1.195 73
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’32.125 1’31.372 1’30.824 -0.548 66
25 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’32.859 1’30.950 1’30.873 -0.077 72
26 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’30.896 20

2012 Indian Grand Prix

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22 comments on Vettel remains on top in India

  1. Eggry (@eggry) said on 27th October 2012, 7:39

    This might be how it ends. I mean the championship.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th October 2012, 8:15

      @eggry This feels like one of those weekends where all the interesting stuff is happening off the track: the Concorde discussions, Ferrari’s latest escapade, the press chasing after Mallya.

      However I doubt Ferrari are quite as slow as they look on the times sheets and judging by Senna’s pace, Williams may have a surprise in store.

      I doubt there’s going to be much to get excited about in the battle for pole, but there’s intrigue elsewhere.

      And the championship is far from over. Only six points in it. If Vettel’s alternator goes again we could easily end up heading to Abu Dhabi with Alonso in the lead.

    • Scottie (@scottie) said on 27th October 2012, 8:33

      until the alternator fails again and throws it on its head :)

  2. David-A (@david-a) said on 27th October 2012, 7:42

    Mclaren look to be back on the pace, and even Lotus and Williams could get in the mix. That is bad news for Alonso unfortunately, if he ends up behind them, with Vettel ahead of them. But I’m sure that come Sunday afternoon, Alonso will get a solid result.

  3. Bob (@bobthevulcan) said on 27th October 2012, 7:43

    Ferrari’s updates evidently haven’t improved their qualifying pace, but in yesterday’s practice sessions, they did show some signs of strong race pace, so the championship isn’t over just yet. Button looks to be in a position to challenge the Red Bulls, maybe even split them on the grid, while Vettel looks set to claim pole. Could Bruno Senna be a surprise performer this weekend?

  4. James (@goodyear92) said on 27th October 2012, 7:55

    It’s good to see McLaren looing a little closer, even if them posing any real threat to Red Bull still seems impossible. It’s irritating to see Ferrari so far off, though. I don’t expect Alonso can do much more than he already has been, and if the car is as far removed from the pace of the competition as it appears to be, I think they’re going to be waving goodbye to this title before even the final race. Vettel and Adrian do have a way of taking the fun out of everything. It’s not just that the car is fast, it’s speed is just plain dominating. I do wish Vettel had a more competitive driver on the other side of the garage. This is no insult to Mark, who is more than a match for Vettel on his day, it’s just that his days are so infrequent compared to all the other top drivers. It makes Vettel’s feats look far easier than they should. I just think it would give more insight in to just how good he is, were he to go up against the likes of Alonso or Hamilton. Alas, that’s never likely to happen. And going on this weekend’s results thus far, plus the last couple of races, I’m predicting Vettel will be on pole; Vettel will win the race and will storm to the title in a car that just can’t seem to be touched by the opposition.

    I’m a tad concerned about any potential issues with Hamilton’s car. Given that both he and Jenson suffered some problematic shifting in the gearbox during the previous practice session, his odd slide in to the last turn and pulling over to the side of the track is a little worrying. Please, McLaren, don’t make him suffer his fourth car issue on the trot.

    • Alonso has a much easier team-mate than Vettel has, currently he doesn’t have the car though.

      • James (@goodyear92) said on 27th October 2012, 12:22

        Yes, but Alonso has gone up against Hamilton. Some of Vettel’s success could be attribued to having a car for most of the last four years that far exceeds what Hamilton or Alonso have been given. He’s on the brink of passing both and getting his third title. I’m just not sure he’d have done as he has if he’d gone head-to-head with either of these two. I don’t think he’d look as good as some people make him out to be. Generally, when the car isn’t there, he’s not achieveing the same feats that Alonso and Hamilton have so often in inferior machines.

    • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 27th October 2012, 8:26

      Mark Webber might be inconsistent in the races, but he is one hell of a qualifier, or as F1.com puts it, qualifying ace. Mark Webber outqualified his pre-Vettel team mates in 83% of the times, a stat firmly in between Michael Schumacher (76%) and Ayrton Senna (88%). And what does Vettel do? He outqualifies this very same Mark Webber in 73% of the races.

      Now, you can argue whether or not Webber’s a good measure in races, but in qualifying the results are definitely in.

  5. Todfod (@todfod) said on 27th October 2012, 8:13

    Looks like Fernando is nothing more than a passenger in this year’s WDC fight. This late in the season, when all the teams have gotten to grips with the tyres and reliability issues, it seems to be all down to the car…. and Sebastian is impossible to beat with the fastest car on the grid.

    • Ella (@ella) said on 27th October 2012, 8:31

      Yeah, I too feel it’s all but over for him. Sad, given the way he’s fought this year. Vettel has been solid when the car hasn’t been perfect but the drives that Alonso put in early in the season were fantastic. And now it just seems all too easy for Seb since his car is untouchable and his nearest rival in the championship, basically his ONLY rival in the championship has a car that can’t compete. I know some might think I’m shooting my mouth off too early, but I truly feel the championship is going to be all but sealed on Sunday. If Vettel hadn’t had his alternator fail before this it might well have been completely done by this Sunday. Anti-climactic, that’s for sure.

  6. sumedh said on 27th October 2012, 8:24

    Grand Chelem is one where a driver gets pole, fastest lap, race win and leads every lap.

    Is there any term for when a driver leads every practice session, Q1, Q2, Q3, race win, fastest lap and every lap?

    Vettel has now finished on top of Q2, Q3 last year, led everything in the race, led P1, P2, P3 this year. Is that a record for a driver-circuit combination?

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 27th October 2012, 8:29

    Looks a little better for McLaren but I still don’t see them ruining the RB8′s party. I don’t remember the last time we saw such dominance (if you can call it that in practice) from Red Bull.

  8. Gusztav said on 27th October 2012, 8:46

    Talking of teammates, I do wish Alonso had a semblance of a competitive teammate. Anyways, if Vettel stays the course, he’ll get his third WDC on merit and that would give me a lot of fun. Different strokes and all.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 27th October 2012, 8:54

      I dont know what you mean by merit? Its not like hes been better than Fernando or Lewis this season, and it seems that he only got his act together once he had the frastest car under him again. I wouldn’t really call that his ‘own merit’

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 27th October 2012, 9:09

        SV did well enough when he wasn’t in the fastest car and was losing out with the alternators so that he could take the WDC lead in the handful of races he has had the best car. Indeed, its his own merit as much as anyone else if they were leading the championship (I do of course, respect the job Alonso has done this year as well).

  9. Rahim.RG (@rahim-rg) said on 27th October 2012, 8:55

    Raikkonen will win in India:)

  10. peter548 said on 27th October 2012, 11:37

    You beauty Seb! :D

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