Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull complete practice sweep
|By Sam Tremayne||Saturday, October 27th 2012, 06:40 GMT|
Sebastian Vettel continued his and Red Bull's perfect start to the Indian Grand Prix weekend by once again setting the pace in the final practice session.
The German hit the front 25 minutes into the session and was never then displaced, despite being one of the last to switch onto soft rubber.
Having struggled for one-lap pace, McLaren did at least have the comfort of getting closer than it was able to in second practice, when Vettel enjoyed a commanding gap of more than six tenths of a second over the field.
Jenson Button got to within 0.192s of the German at the top of the timesheets, while Lewis Hamilton was fractions down the road in fourth.
The two silver arrows were split by the second Red Bull of Mark Webber, who captured third late on on his soft tyre run.
Kimi Raikkonen sealed fifth in the final minutes, while the impressive Bruno Senna - who had run third before the field switched to softs – ended sixth fastest.
In contrast to McLaren, Ferrari struggled more, although it also stuck to its own individual programme, waiting until the session's halfway mark to post its first times and then playing with drafting shortly afterward.
Fernando Alonso, looking to respond to Vettel's run of three straight wins, could only finish seventh fastest, six tenths down on Vettel.
Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, Mercedes' Michael Schumacher and the second Lotus of Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10.
The session has begun slowly, with the first laptimes only being set a quarter of the way into the hour.
Raikkonen was the first to post a time, immediately going fastest with a 1m27.686s that kept him top until Webber and then Vettel went out.
Nico Rosberg was also out early, but quickly hit problems as he ran through the gravel while shadowing the second Lotus of Romain Grosjean.
Even as he did, Grosjean was on his radio complaining of a lack of balance and grip, a problem echoed down the pitlane.
Sergio Perez was also struggling with a nervous Sauber and could only manage 13th fastest at the flag, five places up the road from team-mate Kamui Kobayashi.
That put him behind Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado in the second Ferrari and Williams respectively.
Paul di Resta was seventh before the field switched to soft rubber, but found himself dropping down the order and eventually wound up 14th, just ahead of Nico Rosberg and the two Toro Rossos.
Daniel Ricciardo had the edge in the STR intra-team battle, ending the session three tenths faster than Jean-Eric Vergne.
Heikki Kovailainen and Caterham were meanwhile best of the rest.
Rosberg's trip across the gravel and Webber's spin at the final turn were the only moments in a realtively-incident free session.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.842s 20 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.034s + 0.192s 17 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.108s + 0.266s 18 4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.151s + 0.309s 21 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.209s + 0.367s 22 6. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m26.214s + 0.372s 24 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.521s + 0.679s 15 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m26.531s + 0.689s 21 9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m26.652s + 0.810s 21 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.664s + 0.822s 21 11. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.691s + 0.849s 13 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m27.140s + 1.298s 18 13. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.162s + 1.320s 21 14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m27.193s + 1.351s 22 15. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m27.229s + 1.387s 21 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.374s + 1.532s 21 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.711s + 1.869s 20 18. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.983s + 2.141s 19 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m29.035s + 3.193s 20 20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m29.237s + 3.395s 20 21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.617s + 3.775s 20 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.298s + 4.456s 20 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m30.824s + 4.982s 22 24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m30.873s + 5.031s 22 All timing unofficial