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