Malaysian GP: Vettel quickest in final Sepang practice

Sebastian Vettel highlighted his position as favourite for pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix by going quickest in final practice at Sepang

Malaysian GP: Vettel quickest in final Sepang practice

The Red Bull driver posted the best time of the weekend with a lap of 1m36.435s near the end of the session, outpacing Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton by 0.133 seconds and the Force India of Adrian Sutil by less than two tenths.

Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber was fourth fastest in a very evenly-matched session, the Australian just 0.178s adrift.

Friday's pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for fifth position after complaining about the handling of his Lotus.

Although all drivers jumped onto the track right at the start of the session, it was the Caterhams of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde who set the early pace as the frontrunners took things easy.

Ten minutes in, Raikkonen moved to the top of the times as he posted a 1m38s lap, soon to be bettered by Mercedes's Nico Rosberg and minutes later by Sutil in the Force India, the German the first man to lap in the 1m37s bracket.

Rosberg returned to first post briefly before team-mate Hamilton outpaced him by over three tenths with a lap of 1m37.527s, still far from the pace set by Raikkonen on Friday.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was the last man to complete a timed lap, the Brazilian not returning to the track until half the session was gone.

Rosberg fitted the medium tyres to move back into first position with the first lap in the 1m36s at the 32-minute mark as Webber and Vettel sat at the bottom of the times, the Red Bull duo still seemingly struggling with the durability of the tyres.

Hamilton's first run on mediums with 20 minutes to go proved to be the fastest lap of the weekend, improving on Raikkonen's best from Friday by 0.001s.

Webber left the bottom of the times moments later, using the medium tyres to finish 0.045s behind Hamilton.

Vettel, still slowest with 16 minutes of the session left, completed his first lap on mediums to move into sixth position.

Sutil jumped up to second place with less than 10 minutes remaining, finishing just 0.020s behind Hamilton.

With just over three minutes left, Vettel set a new benchmark in the medium tyre-shod Red Bull, the world champion's 1m36.435s putting him over a tenth ahead of his closest rival.

Except for a few off-track excursions, the session was incident-free.

 Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.435 20 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m36.568s + 0.133s 17 3. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m36.588s + 0.153s 19 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.613s + 0.178s 20 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m36.806s + 0.371s 19 6. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m36.807s + 0.372s 18 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.822s + 0.387s 16 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m36.946s + 0.511s 14 9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.949s + 0.514s 24 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.302s + 0.867s 14 11. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.359s + 0.924s 11 12. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.538s + 1.103s 12 13. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.685s + 1.250s 23 14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.690s + 1.255s 14 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m37.936s + 1.501s 16 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.294s + 1.859s 17 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.376s + 1.941s 16 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.425s + 1.990s 15 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m38.995s + 2.560s 18 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.717s + 3.282s 21 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m40.209s + 3.774s 18 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.495s + 4.060s 18 

AUTOSPORT Malaysian GP coverage:

FP1 FP2 FP3 Qualifying Race Gallery Live commentary Official quotes

shares
comments
Red Bull accepts McLaren's apology over ECU
Previous article

Red Bull accepts McLaren's apology over ECU

Next article

Kovalainen focused on return to F1, rules out another series

Kovalainen focused on return to F1, rules out another series
Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP Plus

Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP

On paper the Canadian Grand Prix will go down as Max Verstappen’s latest triumph, fending off late pressure from Carlos Sainz to extend his Formula 1 world championship lead. But as safety car periods, virtual and real, shook up the race Ferrari demonstrated it can take the fight to Red Bull after recent failures

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022