Webber on top as Vettel hits trouble

2013 Japanese Grand Prix third practice

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2013Mark Webber was quickest in the final practice session for Red Bull, a tenth of a second faster than Lewis Hamilton.

However Sebastian Vettel was unable to complete a qualifying simulation on the softer medium tyres at the end of the session due to a KERS problem on his car.

The two Mercedes drivers were next-quickest, Hamilton beating Webber’s first sector time with his final run.

Romain Grosjean was fourth despite having done his medium-tyre lap earlier in the session. Lotus pursued a different arrangement for practice with Kimi Raikkonen doing high-fuel running at the end of practice having been unable to do so yesterday.

The Ferraris were fifth and sixth with Jenson Button’s McLaren almost matching their pace on the medium tyre.

Adrian Sutil was the latest driver to fall victim to the demanding Suzuka course. The Force India driver lost control of his car at the exit of Spoon Curve and knocked his front nose off on the barrier at the inside of the corner.

That bend posed problems for several drivers including both the Ferrari pilots who were visibly struggling with oversteer at the exit. A change in wind direction meant drivers now had a tailwind to contend with there and on the pit straight.

Lap times improved by almost two seconds compared with yesterday. Hamilton noted during the session the track was now offering “more grip”.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’32.053 8
2 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’32.187 0.134 18
3 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.355 0.302 18
4 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’32.707 0.654 26
5 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’32.800 0.747 14
6 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’32.815 0.762 14
7 5 Jenson Button McLaren 1’32.869 0.816 17
8 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’32.946 0.893 25
9 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’33.036 0.983 17
10 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.076 1.023 12
11 6 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’33.158 1.105 15
12 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.260 1.207 15
13 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.490 1.437 16
14 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’33.638 1.585 17
15 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’33.660 1.607 19
16 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.732 1.679 15
17 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’33.955 1.902 18
18 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’34.773 2.720 8
19 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’35.473 3.420 20
20 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’35.518 3.465 18
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’35.844 3.791 16
22 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’39.378 7.325 20

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’34.787 1’34.020 1’32.053 -1.967 63
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’34.157 1’34.442 1’32.187 -1.97 73
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’34.487 1’34.114 1’32.355 -1.759 73
4 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’35.179 1’34.411 1’32.707 -1.704 71
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.154 1’35.087 1’32.800 -2.287 62
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.126 1’34.698 1’32.815 -1.883 63
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1’35.868 1’34.912 1’32.869 -2.043 73
8 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’35.364 1’34.202 1’32.946 -1.256 59
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’34.768 1’33.852 1’33.036 -0.816 76
10 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.900 1’35.182 1’33.076 -2.106 64
11 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’35.450 1’35.709 1’33.158 -2.292 50
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.066 1’35.109 1’33.260 -1.849 69
13 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’35.635 1’34.473 1’33.490 -0.983 65
14 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’36.178 1’36.722 1’33.638 -2.54 35
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’36.399 1’35.275 1’33.660 -1.615 72
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.760 1’35.089 1’33.732 -1.357 73
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’36.340 1’36.136 1’33.955 -2.181 82
18 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’36.165 1’35.341 1’34.773 -0.568 52
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’38.025 1’37.905 1’35.473 -2.432 71
20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’37.630 1’35.518 -2.112 49
21 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’38.763 1’38.121 1’35.844 -2.277 67
22 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’37.595 22
23 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’37.629 1’39.378 +1.749 28

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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7 comments on Webber on top as Vettel hits trouble

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th October 2013, 4:10

    Hm, I still expect Vettel to get it on pole. But it could be tight with both his teammate pushing him and the Mercs (+Grosjean) being right on his heels today.

  2. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 12th October 2013, 4:10

    Darn it. The guy suffers the failure at Practice. It must be bad for him, but I’d rather have him start 9th or something to make it interesting.

    Dammit faulty KERS. Couldn’t you just hang on until Q3 and then BANG?! jeez… some KERSes just want to see the world bored, huh? :P

  3. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 12th October 2013, 4:12

    I really hope the Mercs can challenge the RBR’s both today and tomorrow.

    Not gonna hold my breath, but it is Suzuka and anything can happen.

  4. kcarrey (@kcarrey) said on 12th October 2013, 4:19

    even if vettel gone pointless for the remaining races, he’ll still be champion.

    Ferrari’s pace is lagging behind MGP and maybe Lotus.

    • Hyoko said on 12th October 2013, 9:50

      Not so sure. If SV wouldn’t score in the 5 remaining races, FA would need 78 pts to win. That’s not out of the question, specially whitout SV taking away the big points. In the last five races FA got 5th, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd and 6th, that is 72 pts, not enough. But SV was always on top (3rd, 1st, 1st,1st, 1st), hence FA would have hauled 97 pts (one 4th, three victories, one 5th), everything being the same except for SV not scoring. Plenty more than needed (say, four 3rds and one 2nd would be enough). For Lewis and Kimi it would be harder, Kimi would need three victories plus two 3rds (or one 2nd plus one 4th) or better, or 4 victories plus one 7th or better, or all 5 victories; Lewis would need 4 victories plus one 4th or better.

      In all probability SV is going to score lots of points in the the next races, so all this is moot. Getting the WDC tomorrow is not very likely for him, even with the victory; FA should be able to finish 8th or better. But I bet it all will be over in India.

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