2011 Chinese Grand Prix (Rd 3, Free Practice 3, April 16th)

© Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Sebastian Vettel topped the third and final free practice session in China on Saturday morning.

The reigning champion planted his Red Bull on top of the pile, despite having little use of his KERS unit.
During the session Vettel ran 13 lap, with a best of 1:34.968 – some two-tenths quicker than McLaren’s Jenson Button in 2nd.

Lewis Hamilton made it a trio of champions at the head of the pile. The McLaren pilot set his best lap at the tail end of the session; however an off course excursion took the best from his Pirelli rubber leaving the Briton unable to challenge harder.

Nico Rosberg pipped Ferrari’s Felipe Massa (5th) and Fernando Alonso (6th) in the time sheets. Rosberg’s veteran teammate Michael Schumacher could only manage a best of 9th, sandwiched by the Force India duo of Adrian Sutil (8th) and Paul di Resta (10th).
Fronting the Renault charge was Vitaly Petrov in 7th. The Russian completed 18 laps with a best of 1:36.098 – just over tree-tenths quicker than teammate Nick Heidfeld. Admittedly, Heidfeld was the cause of his own woes – his two Friday accidents meant the German had to revert back to the old specification front wing on his R31.

Following a less than successful test on Friday, Sauber reverted to their original exhaust system; the new design caused burn issues around the suspension. Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez finished 12th and 13th respectively, some 1.6 seconds off of Vettel’s pace.

If Sauber had reason to be disappointed, then Mark Webber was truly disgusted. The Red Bull driver only registered five laps as problems with the electrics and his KERS unit severely hampered his session, leaving the Australian in 16th spot.

Near the back of the pile, Jerome d’Ambrosio’s indifferent start to his Formula 1 career continued. The Belgian ran wide at turn 13, wrecking his front wing over the jagged kerbs.
D’Ambrosio finished the morning in the pitlane with the 22nd best time.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m34.968s            13
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m35.176s  + 0.208s  15
 3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m35.373s  + 0.405s  14
 4.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m35.677s  + 0.709s  18
 5.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m35.818s  + 0.850s  17
 6.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m35.971s  + 1.003s  15
 7.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1m36.098s  + 1.130s  18
 8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1m36.125s  + 1.157s  15
 9.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m36.141s  + 1.173s  14
10.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m36.370s  + 1.402s  18
11.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                1m36.404s  + 1.436s  16
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m36.582s  + 1.614s  18
13.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m36.596s  + 1.628s  17
14.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m36.717s  + 1.749s  16
15.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m36.896s  + 1.928s  5
16.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m36.953s  + 1.985s  14
17.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1m37.007s  + 2.039s  20
18.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1m37.304s  + 2.336s  18
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1m38.176s  + 3.208s  12
20.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1m38.739s  + 3.771s  12
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1m39.938s  + 4.970s  17
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1m39.998s  + 5.030s  16
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           1m40.593s  + 5.625s  17
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m40.881s  + 5.913s  18

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