2011 British Grand Prix (Rd 9, Free Practice 3, July 9th)

© Creative Commons / Junafani

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel headed a frantic final practice session for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.

The reigning Champion beat Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to the top spot with a quick lap of 1:31.401 – only six-hundredths quicker than the Spaniard.

In the background, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner and chief designer Adrian Newey protested the rewriting of regulations regarding hot-blown diffusers – something that is felt may hurt Red Bull’s pace.

There were other issues for Red Bull. Mark Webber missed much of the session due to a mechanical failure, but re-entered the fray ten minutes prior to the chequered flag to set his best lap on the soft Pirelli tyres.
It was enough to give the Australian 3rd on the sheets, four-tenths shy of Vettel, but three-tenths ahead of his nearest follower, Felipe Massa (Ferrari).

Pastor Maldonado set the 5th quickest time in his Williams FW33. It had been a good session for the Venezuelan, who is staying with an updated diffuser and indeed gave the rookie a 1.5 second advantage over veteran teammate Rubens Barrichello (14th), who was still running the original parts.

McLaren’s Jenson Button assumed the final spot in the top six ahead of Kamui Kobayashi (7th, Sauber) and Nico Rosberg (8th, Mercedes).
It had been something of an up-and-down session for the Mercedes pair. Whereas as Rosberg comfortably completed the most laps in the sixty minute session, his teammate, Michael Schumacher, was sidelined with engine difficulties for a large portion of the practice.
Schumacher secured the 11th best time after completing 11 laps.

The second Sauber of Sergio Perez was 9th ahead of Force India’s Paul di Resta, who rounded out the top ten.  At the rear of the field, Formula 1 débutante Daniel Ricciardo (Hispania) ran quicker than teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi for the second time this weekend.

The session had been punctuated on a few occasions by droplets of rain, but rarely was the down pour great enough to bring the action to a halt.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1m31.401s            17
 2.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1m31.464s  + 0.063s  20
 3.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m31.829s  + 0.428s  12
 4.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1m32.169s  + 0.768s  20
 5.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth     1m32.496s  + 1.095s  20
 6.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m32.956s  + 1.555s  18
 7.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1m33.014s  + 1.613s  20
 8.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1m33.044s  + 1.643s  23
 9.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari        1m33.264s  + 1.863s  21
10.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m33.423s  + 2.022s  22
11.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1m33.551s  + 2.150s  11
12.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m33.660s  + 2.259s  22
13.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1m33.842s  + 2.441s  16
14.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m33.905s  + 2.504s  21
15.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               1m34.042s  + 2.641s  22
16.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m34.329s  + 2.928s  20
17.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m34.799s  + 3.398s  20
18.  Nick Heidfeld       Renault               1m34.822s  + 3.421s  21
19.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1m35.225s  + 3.824s  21
20.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Renault         1m36.905s  + 5.504s  21
21.  Timo Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1m37.614s  + 6.213s  18
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1m38.068s  + 6.667s  20
23.  Daniel Ricciardo    HRT-Cosworth          1m38.289s  + 6.888s  19
24.  Tonio Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth          1m38.568s  + 7.167s  17

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