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