F1 Turkey FP3 Results & Report; Vettel Beats the Mercedes Power


What Happens When In a Red Bull, You Only Need 17 Laps

5:18am EST — Sebastian Vettel’s (1:26.037) first dry times of the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix weekend resulted in the fastest time of the weekend. He was just .001s faster than Michael Schumacher in the final practice session before the afternoon’s qualifying after catching up with traffic in the final minutes of the session. Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, and Jenson Button completed the fastest five, with Lewis Hamilton trailing his teammate by just over a tenth in the cool sunshine at Istanbul Park. There were no major incidents, though Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s woes continued. He was quickest in the early use of soft tires, but lost power for an unexplained reason and had to return to the garage. He and teammate Felipe Massa were eighth and ninth quickest, with Vitaly Petrov seventh and Sebastien Buemi tenth fastest at the end of the session.

Friday was a mixed bag, both in weather conditions and fast drivers. The morning practice occurred with rain falling and a slippery track underfoot, and Alonso posting the fastest lap. Rosberg, Schumacher, Heidfeld, and Petrov completed the fastest five while a heavy impact ended Vettel’s day. The German got too far onto the kerb and touched the impossibly wet artificial grass, slid across the track, and bounced into a barrier. He heavily damaged the right side of his Red Bull and was unable to complete that session or compete in the afternoon.

Teammate Webber managed only the eleventh fastest lap, though his luck was better in the dry and occasionally sunny afternoon session. Then he was fifth fastest, beat out by a bevy of Mercedes engines. Button, Rosberg again, Hamilton, and Schumacher were all faster. Alonso’s day only became worse as it progressed, with a hydraulic issue keeping him in the garage. Later, he was forced to rely on marshals and mechanics to push him back to the garage. He ended the afternoon only eleventh fastest.

Saturday morning was again sunny and cooler than usual for the race weekend, as D’Ambrosio led half the field out to start the hour-long morning practice. According to Ferrari, both “Cars are fitted with new front and rear wings and new front brake ducts.” Every driver had done at least one installation lap five minutes into the session, with both Petrov and Schumacher completing two. After those early installation laps, it was back in the garage for everyone. D’Ambrosio was the first to set a time, with his 1:34.464 lap coming twelve minutes into the session. The rookie had a new nose, and bettered his time by more than a second on his second timed lap, than seven tenths on his third. He was joined by Karthikeyan, then Schumacher, and a trickle of drivers.

Schumacher, though, was five seconds faster than D’Ambrosio, with Button and Hamilton second and third fastest with times popping up all over the place. Twenty minutes into the session, Rosberg led Hamilton, Schumacher, Button, Kobayashi, Kovalainen, D’Ambrosio, Liuzzi, and Karthikeyan as the top nine, though Vettel quickly slotted into fifth on his first timed lap. Alguersuari ended his session with a spin and stop almost in the gravel in Turn 4, hopping out of the car and leaving things for the marshals to clean up, though the car appeared undamaged cosmetically.

While the Mercedes group of Rosberg, Hamilton, Schumacher, and Button were back in the garage, Vettel (1:27.134) went fastest of all, though still slower than Button’s 1:26.456 from yesterday. Webber soon joined him in third, despite being slightly held by Glock. At the halfway point, Vettel led Rosberg, Webber, Petrov, Hamilton, Schumacher, Button, Alonso, Heidfeld, and Buemi as the top ten, while the top nine were covered by one second. Only Alguersuari had not set a time, though Barrichello was a surprising slowest, six and a half seconds off Vettel’s pace.

Rosberg had a lovely and scary drifting move all on his lonesome through Turn 8, somehow managing to keep the car from crumpling the nose into a barrier. He continued on, entered the garage, and likely needed a change of driver’s suit, all while keeping his second fastest position. Seemingly out of nowhere, Buemi (1:27.080) jumped to the top of the timesheets, beating Vettel’s time by .054s on the softer tires. It appeared that he was the first to make the compound switch, though Massa soon beat his time, with Vettel following.

With the mix of compounds being used on the track, Massa (1:26.883) led Vettel, Buemi, Rosberg, Webber, Petrov, Hamilton, Schumacher, Button, and Alguersuari when fifteen minutes remained. Around that time, Red Bull informed both drivers that KERS was operational to and give it a go. When returning to the garage, Buemi and Heidfled nearly had a moment, with the Swiss driver sliding a little too close in front of the German, forcing Heidfeld into heaving breaking and a move to the side.

Next up to the top was Alonso, also on the softer tire, with a lap time of 1:26.819, less than a tenth faster than Massa. Neither the Red Bull nor McLaren (nor Mercedes GP) drivers had switched to the softer tire for a full lap yet. Rosberg was the first, taking the top and nearly four tenths off Alonso’s time. The Spaniard returned to the garage, radioing, “I think I not have the same power no, so I go in.” He certainly seemed to have lost a good bit of speed on the replay.

With just five minutes of running time before the afternoon qualifying session, Schumacher (1:26.038) led a top ten of Rosberg, Button, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Buemi, Sutil, and Webber. Perez soon slotted into ninth as Webber began his first run on the softer Pirellis. He was quickly third fastest, though well off the pace on his second lap. Vettel beat Schumacher’s time by one thousandth on his first timed soft tire run, having been caught by Liuzzi in the final sector.

Final Times for FP3, Turkish GP:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:26.037 17
2. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:26.038 +0.001 17
3. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:26.404 +0.367 16
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:26.420 +0.383 19
5. Jensen Button McLaren 1:26.578 +0.541 17
6. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:26.726 +0.689 14
7. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:26.755 +0.718 20
8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.819 +0.782 12
9. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:26.883 +0.846 12
10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:27.080 +1.043 16
11. Sergio Perez Sauber 1:27.121 +1.084 20
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:27.255 +1.218 18
13. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:27.318 +1.281 19
14. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:27.379 +1.342 17
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:27.528 +1.491 19
16. Paul di Resta Force India 1:27.644 +1.607 18
17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:27.724 +1.687 15
18. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:27.976 +1.939 19
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:28.911 +2.874 15
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:29.697 +3.660 17
21. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1:31.097 +5.060 25
22. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:31.175 +5.138 19
23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1:31.375 +5.338 19
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:31.009 +5.972 15
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