F1 Nurburgring FP3 Results & Report: Vettel Fastest On the Weekend, Rain Holds Off Momentarily


What Happens When Things Are Interesting Again

6:14am EST — Sebastian Vettel (1:30.916)set the fastest time of the 2011 German Grand Prix weekend in the final practice on Saturday morning, leading Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, and Jenson Button as the fastest five in the session. Though it was the coldest session to begin with on the weekend, the temperatures became more manageable as the session progressed, leading to Vettel’s fastest time of the weekend. Though Alonso led with a few minutes left, he did not use the second, quicker, timed lap on his softer tires choosing to pit instead. Both Red Bulls did improve on their second fast lap to beat Alonso’s time.

Ferrari continued the quick pace they began to show at Silverstone, with Alonso (1:31.894) leading the Friday morning practice in Germany, then Alonso was slower only than Webber (1:31.711) in the second, afternoon, practice. They were the only two drivers to set a lap time in the 1:31s range to that point of the weekend. Massa was fourth fastest in both sessions, beaten out only by Vettel, who was third fastest in both Friday practice sessions.The McLarens of Hamilton and Button did not fare so well, finishing the morning fifth and sixth, but the afternoon seventh and eleventh, respectively.

Neither session was particularly exhilarating to watch, but for the continued rallying skills displayed by many drivers, particularly at Turn 5. Though rain did not fall, the track was cool and took some time to rubber in, with dirt off-line that lead to drivers scurrying across the gravel and through the grass. Schumacher took the time to wave to those in the grandstands as he kept his Mercedes moving through the kitty litter. He moved up from tenth fastest in the morning to fifth in the afternoon while teammate Rosberg was seventh then sixth in the individual sessions.

It had been spitting rain some time before the final sixty minute practice, but was relatively dry and windy when the session began. D’Ambrosio led Liuzzi and Kobayashi and many other cars out for the rather cold practice, with nearly half the field onto the track with a minute gone. Lotus’ hydraulic issues continued, as Kovalainen was stuck in the garage for repairs for a planned twenty minutes. Meanwhile, Mercedes informed Schumacher that he had a KERS issue and would be unable to use it for this practice. No one posted an early timed lap, with all but Kovalainen having completed an installation lap five minutes into the session and dipping back into the garage.

D’Ambrosio was the first back out a little of ten minutes into the session, but the rest of the cars remained inside. Ferrari explained, “No issues to report after the installation laps. Now, as usual, there will be a break of around 20 minutes to find the best conditions for the next couple of runs, one on Prime, the other on Option tyrs.” Fellow drivers Liuzzi and Chandhok joined the Virgin Racing driver, as did Kobayashi, just before the Belgian set the first time of the session (1:46.020), well off the fast pace.

D’Ambrosio still had the only time a quarter of the way through the session, though his improved time was beat soon thereafter by Chandhok with a 1:42.384. Liuzzi slotted between them as D’Ambrosio improved to go fastest again. Kobayashi was the next fastest as other drivers joined them on the timesheets, with the fastest lap time repeatedly dropping. Twenty minutes into the session, Heidfeld (1:35.881) led Rosberg, Kobayashi, Perez, di Resta, Schumacher, Maldonado, Buemi, Barrichello, and Liuzzi as the fastest ten. Neither of the Red Bull, Ferrari, or McLaren drivers had yet set a time. Schumacher soon moved up to second fastest, only to be displaced by Perez and Heidfeld.

Chandhok continued to have brake issues in his brand-new car, as the feel was not to his comfort and the pedal felt a bit soft. Meanwhile, Sutil slid into third fastest while the fastest teams remained in the garage approaching the halfway point of the session. Schumacher (1:34.418) was next to go quickest, only to be displaced by his teammate. Force India was showing some pace, with di Resta joining his teammate as third fastest. However, Massa, Vettel, Hamilton, and Button had all gone out for their first timed runs. Kovalainen went thirteenth fastest on his first fast lap, as Webber was the only typically fastest car still in the garage with thirty-two minutes left in the final practice.

Hamilton’s first lap put him fourth fastest, a second off Rosberg’s time (1:34.240), with Button sixth, then Massa just a bit quicker than the 2009 champion. On his second fast lap, Hamilton was quickest, only to have Button (1:33.646) take over that positions moments later. Alonso’s first lap was good enough for sixth fastest. For the Red Bulls, Vettel went fourth fastest on his first lap but Webber only ninth. Once all the drivers managed their second faster lap on the harder tire, Alonso (1:33.310) was fastest overall. Webber, Perez, Button, Hamilton, Kobayashi, Vettel, Massa, Rosberg, and Schumacher were the fastest ten.

That order would not remain, as Vettel went second fastest, only to have Button beat him and lap just seven thousandths off Alonso’s time. Soon, though, Rosberg on the softer tires led Webber by a second, with Vettel, Alonso, and Button completing the fastest five. Many of the drivers were circulating with rain threatening, despite patches of sun shining on the track with twenty minutes to go. Rosberg continued to improve his time as Vettel and Webber switched position, still more than a second of his pace on the harder compound tires. Schumacher soon split the Red Bulls, though Sutil went second fastest from fourteenth by use of the softer tire. di Resta similarly went third fastest, a half second off the pace of his teammate.

Rosberg (1:31.694) led as just one quarter of the session remained, with Sutil, Schumacher, di Resta, Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Button, Hamilton, and Perez the fastest ten. Most drivers headed back into the garage for the typical final adjustments, with just Alonso, Perez, Petrov, the Virgin Racing drivers, and Ricciardo still lapping. The Spaniard was out on the softer tires, putting together the fastest lap of the session (1:31.138) to that point, a half second quicker than Rosberg on the same tire compound. Drivers began to trickle back out as ten minutes remained, with Massa going fifth fastest on his first soft tire lap, then third, a second off Alonso’s pace. Button, meanwhile, had picked up McLaren’s pace to go second fastest.

Drivers were on various compounds as practice wound down, with only Schumacher and Heidfeld in the garage with five minutes to go. Alonso led Webber, Hamilton, Button, and Rosberg at that time, with Webber just four hundredths slower than Alonso, who ducked into the garage immediately thereafter. Vettel jumped from tenth to third, three tenths off Alonso’s time. He backed off on his next lap, with two minutes remaining. Webber again pipped Alonso near the end, beating Alonso (was was in the garage) by nine hundredths, as Vettel began setting a very fast lap. As the session ended, Vettel was over a tenth faster than Webber to go fastest of all.

Final Times for FP3, 2011 German Grand Prix:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:30.916 15
2. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:31.049 +0.133 16
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:31.138 +0.222 12
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:31.578 +0.662 13
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1:31.623 +0.707 14
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:31.694 +0.778 19
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:32.144 +1.228 13
8. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:32.391 +1.575 20
9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:32.523 +1.607 16
10. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:32.751 +1.835 18
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:32.777 +1.861 18
12. Paul di Resta Force India 1:32.813 +1.897 21
13. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:33.072 +2.156 18
14. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:33.179 +2.263 17
15. Sergio Perez Sauber 1:33.531 +2.615 20
16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:33.671 +2.755 20
17. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:33.948 +3.032 21
18. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:34.125 +3.209 19
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:35.385 +4.469 13
20. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:36.724 +5.808 21
21. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1:36.804 +5.888 23
22. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1:36.894 +5.978 23
23. Karun Chandhok Lotus 1:36.959 +6.043 18
24. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1:37.554 +6.638 22
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2 Comments

  1. I love watching the F1 at the Nurburgring. The greatest motorsport venue in the world.

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    F1 Nurburgring FP3 Results & Report: Vettel Fastest On the Weekend, Rain Holds Off Momentarily | On Any Sunday, These Days


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