Webber on top as Vettel hits trouble

Webber on top as Vettel hits trouble

Formula 1

Webber on top as Vettel hits trouble


Mark Webber kept Red Bull ahead in final Japanese Grand Prix practice at Suzuka, as his team-mate Sebastian Vettel ran into mechanical problems.

It was a commanding morning for Webber, who put himself on top during the early part of the session when everyone was on hard tyres.

He was deposed by an early medium-tyre run from Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, but once Webber was on the softer rubber as well, he burst clear with a 1m32.053s, 0.643s in front of the field.

Vettel had been second to Webber on hard tyres, 0.314s off his team-mate’s pace after what he admitted had been a scruffy lap.

That ended up being Vettel’s best run as a KERS problem then left him watching the final quarter of an hour from the pits.

Webber looked set to keep his six-tenth advantage until late runs from the two Mercedes.

First Nico Rosberg got to within 0.302s of the Red Bull, then Lewis Hamilton put in a 1m32.187s after the flag to take second from his team-mate, 0.134s behind Webber.

Grosjean was pushed back to fourth, ahead of Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

Jenson Button took an encouraging seventh place for McLaren, within a tenth of the Ferraris.

Kimi Raikkonen, Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10.

Adrian Sutil provided the only crash of the session when he ran wide on the exit of Spoon and put his Force India into the barriers, sustaining relatively minor damage.

Pos  Driver               Team/Car              Time       Gap      Laps
 1.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1m32.053s           17
 2.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1m32.187s  +0.134s  18
 3.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1m32.355s  +0.302s  18
 4.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1m32.707s  +0.654s  26
 5.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1m32.800s  +0.747s  14
 6.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1m32.815s  +0.762s  14
 7.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1m32.869s  +0.816s  17
 8.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1m32.946s  +0.893s  25
 9.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1m33.036s  +0.983s  8
10.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1m33.076s  +1.023s  12
11.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1m33.158s  +1.105s  15
12.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m33.260s  +1.207s  15
13.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m33.490s  +1.437s  16
14.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1m33.638s  +1.585s  17
15.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1m33.660s  +1.607s  19
16.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1m33.732s  +1.679s  15
17.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1m33.955s  +1.902s  18
18.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1m34.773s  +2.720s  8
19.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1m35.473s  +3.420s  20
20.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      1m35.518s  +3.465s  18
21.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1m35.844s  +3.791s  16
22.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1m39.378s  +7.325s  20