2011 Malaysian Grand Prix (Rd 2, Free Practice 3, April 9th)

Sepang. © Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

In a change from yesterday, Lewis Hamilton ran quickest in this morning’s 3rd Free Practice session in Sepang.

Like many of the runners, the McLaren driver set his fastest runs in the final moments of practice, as they pushed their soft Pirelli tyres to the limit in qualifying simulations.
Hamilton had an eleven lap session, during which the 2008 World Champion notched a best lap of 1:36.340.

Mark Webber lined up three-tenths shy of Hamilton in his Red Bull RB7 following his 16 lap run, although the Australian spent much of the session of the harder compound Pirelli rubber.
Jenson Button made it two McLaren’s in the top-three, with Nick Heidfeld (Renault) registering the 4th best time.

Webber’s Red Bull teammate, Sebastian Vettel finished 5th – his best of was a 1:37.175; however the previous two sessions showed that there should well be a lot more pace in the Renault-powered machine.
Fernando Alonso (6th, Ferrari) and Vitaly Petrov (7th, Renault) found themselves one-tenth shy of Vettel, while still maintaining a half-second gap over Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari.
With Ferrari apparently lacking confidence in the performance of the 150º Italia, this so far does not look like a weekend to boost morale at the Scuderia.

Both Mercedes’ easily logged the busiest session with both Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg completing twenty laps apiece. Schumacher headed the pair in 10th, with Rosberg in 11th only 0.007 shy of the veteran.
Force India’s Paul di Resta had something of a nightmare session. The young Scot suffered throughout third practice from dire rear end tyre wear / grip, causing the reigning DTM Champion to spin on several occasions.
Both Hispania’s made it on track, but finished dead last and they suffered somewhat from a further lack of running. Vitantonio Liuzzi was the quicker of the pair, although the pair finished the session outside the 107% cut off point.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car              Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1m36.340s            11
 2.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m36.630s  + 0.290s  16
 3.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m36.762s  + 0.422s  14
 4.  Nick Heidfeld       Renault               1m37.115s  + 0.775s  17
 5.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1m37.175s  + 0.835s  14
 6.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1m37.284s  + 0.944s  11
 7.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               1m37.297s  + 0.957s  17
 8.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1m37.762s  + 1.422s  12
 9.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1m38.059s  + 1.719s  18
10.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1m38.300s  + 1.960s  20
11.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1m38.307s  + 1.967s  20
12.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari        1m38.448s  + 2.108s  17
13.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m38.464s  + 2.124s  16
14.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth     1m38.597s  + 2.257s  15
15.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m38.665s  + 2.325s  14
16.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m38.681s  + 2.341s  16
17.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m38.716s  + 2.376s  14
18.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m38.864s  + 2.524s  13
19.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1m39.260s  + 2.920s  19
20.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Renault         1m39.699s  + 3.359s  15
21.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1m41.215s  + 4.875s  17
22.  Timo Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1m41.414s  + 5.074s  18
23.  Vitantonio Liuzzi   HRT-Cosworth          1m43.147s  + 6.807s  6
24.  Narain Karthikeyan  HRT-Cosworth          1m43.383s  + 7.043s  11

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