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2011 Korean Grand Prix (Rd 16, Free Practice 3, Oct 15th, TV Notes)

October 16, 2011

Yeongam circuit. © Creative Commons / noieraieri

Jenson Button topped the third free practice for the Korean Grand Prix on Saturday.

In a misty, but dry setting, the McLaren driver set a quickest lap of 1:36.910 in the final moments of the session, aided somewhat by a clear track.

For the Button, the session proved to be a sign of confidence after having his chassis changed overnight, following the discovery of a damaged engine mount.

Button nudged teammate Lewis Hamilton off the summit by three-tenths; however Hamilton found his route blocked by Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher on his final run.

Mark Webber led the Red Bull charge, albeit eight-tenths off of Button’s ultimate pace. The Australian completed twenty-three laps of the Yeongam circuit, although for fellow Red Bull pilot Sebastian Vettel, the session was less profitable.

The newly re-champion champion ran twenty-two laps, setting a best of 1:39.695 – good enough for 9th spot – however Vettel’s qualifying simulation was ruined when he found himself tucked behind the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari.

For Red Bull’s sister team, Toro Rosso arrived in Korea with a modified version of their new exhausts. The best they could manage was 12th (Alguersuari, 20 laps) and 13th (Sebastien Buemi, 21 laps).

Saturday also provided Ferrari to run their new front wing, albeit only one version was available.
Naturally, the component went to Fernando Alonso, who set the 4th quickest time, one place and four-tenths up on teammate Felipe Massa.

In 6th spot, Schumacher led the Mercedes charge. The veteran was the first to switch to the super-soft tyres, but even that could not topple the soft-tyre shod McLaren’s. Nico Rosberg could only manage 10th in the second Mercedes.

Renault enjoyed a mixed morning. Vitaly Petrov continued his up-and-down form with a clean run to 7th; however teammate Bruno Senna ran wide at turn 4 in the early part of the session, lightly touch the wall.
Senna would rejoin the circuit shortly afterward to set the 16th best lap.

At the back, it was another tough day for Daniel Ricciardo at HRT. The Australian only managed 11 laps, after a water leak left him stranded in the pit lane. His time – 1:45.958 – was only good enough for last spot.

With circuit time curtailed due to wet conditions on Friday, the Yeongam circuit bore witness to a packed track for much of the sixty minutes.
Indeed at times, it seemed as if there were more drivers on circuit than people in the grandstands.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m36.910s            18
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m37.199s  + 0.289   18
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m37.723s  + 0.813   23
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m38.029s  + 1.119   21
 5.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m38.434s  + 1.524   18
 6.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m39.559s  + 2.649   23
 7.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1m39.612s  + 2.702   20
 8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1m39.660s  + 2.750   22
 9.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m39.695s  + 2.785   22
10.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m39.743s  + 2.833   25
11.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m39.847s  + 2.937   22
12.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m39.851s  + 2.941   20
13.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m39.964s  + 3.054   21
14.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m40.005s  + 3.095   17
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m40.030s  + 3.120   18
16.  Bruno Senna           Renault                1m40.451s  + 3.541   28
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1m40.529s  + 3.619   20
18.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1m40.711s  + 3.801   22
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1m41.909s  + 4.999   18
20.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1m41.945s  + 5.035   13
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1m43.275s  + 6.365   19
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1m44.377s  + 7.467   16
23.  Vitantonio Liuzzi     HRT-Cosworth           1m44.421s  + 7.511   22
24.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth           1m45.958s  + 8.233   11
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