Vettel keeps Red Bull on top in FP3

Vettel keeps Red Bull on top in FP3

Formula 1

Vettel keeps Red Bull on top in FP3

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Sebastian Vettel kept his Red Bull out of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari’s reach in final practice ahead of Italian Grand Prix qualifying.

The session was a battle between Alonso and Red Bull duo Vettel and Mark Webber throughout. Vettel repeated his Friday afternoon performance at first with a 1m24.551s lap that was six tenths of a second clear of his two rivals.

Alonso could feel there was more speed to come, though, having abandoned a better lap due to yellow flags for Paul di Resta crashing at the Parabolica.

Ferrari had previously tried slipstreaming tactics, with Alonso and Felipe Massa taking turns to tow each other round on their first runs. When they switched to softer tires for the final laps, Vettel improved first to a 1m24.478s, then a 1m24.360s.

Alonso took second from Webber as both also improved on each of their last runs. But the order remained the same, with Alonso in a Red Bull sandwich and the trio covered by 0.317sec. Lewis Hamilton ultimately got within 0.035sec of Webber in his Mercedes. His teammate Nico Rosberg will go into qualifying somewhat compromised as a technical problem limited him to only five laps in the session.

McLaren had an encouraging morning as Sergio Perez took fifth and Jenson Button eighth after a long top-five spell.

Toro Rosso, which won at Monza with Vettel in 2008, also showed great promise as Red Bull-bound Daniel Ricciardo blasted in two rapid laps on his final run to earn sixth ahead of Massa.

Pastor Maldonado put Williams in the top 10 in ninth, as Lotus slumped to 10th and 14th with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Aside from di Resta’s Parabolica accident, which he put down to a technical breakage on his Force India, there were also incidents at the Ascaris for Adrian Sutil and Jean-Eric Vergne. Both continued unscathed.

Pos Driver                Team                    Time        Gap    Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1m24.360s          18 2. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1m24.643s  +0.283  13 3. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1m24.677s  +0.317  22 4. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes                1m24.712s  +0.352  17 5. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes        1m24.864s  +0.504  19 6. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1m24.865s  +0.505  19 7. Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1m24.995s  +0.635  14 8. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1m25.103s  +0.743  15 9. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault        1m25.116s  +0.756  2010. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault           1m25.120s  +0.760  1811. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1m25.136s  +0.776  1612. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari          1m25.273s  +0.913  2113. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari          1m25.324s  +0.964  2214. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault           1m25.499s  +1.139  1715. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault        1m25.660s  +1.300  2116. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    1m25.702s  +1.342  1917. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1m26.120s  +1.760  1118. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault        1m26.607s  +2.247  2119. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault        1m27.172s  +2.812  2020. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth       1m27.605s  +3.245  1821. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth       1m27.665s  +3.305  1822. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1m27.822s  +3.462   5

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