Prac Three: Button edges Vettel

Saturday 24-November-2012 14:06

Jenson Button was the driver to beat in final practice in Brazil, topping the times on the hard and medium tyres to finish with a 1:13.188, 0.057s up on Sebastian Vettel.

With the track temperature sitting at 38'C, Mercedes got down to business immediately as Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher didn't even bother with an installation lap, instead posting times immediately. A 1:15.034 put Schumacher in the P1 slot after the first ten minutes.

Kimi Raikkonen's practice was over before it even began as the Finn slowed down and parked it after an engine blow-out that spewed smoke from the rear of his Lotus.

Back at the front Jenson Button was leading with a 1:14.419 ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who soon took over from his team-mate. That sparked a brief battle between the McLaren team-mates for supremacy before Sebastian Vettel joined the action, slotting in between the duo while Mark Webber took fourth.

Halfway through the session they were the leading quartet while Fernando Alonso, who was a late starter was seventh, one position behind his team-mate Felipe Massa.

There was a brief lull after as the front runners heading back into the pits to change set-ups and check in before heading back out for another run on the hard tyres.

Schumacher was the first to head out on the medium tyres and was on a much better lap when Bruno Senna spun out ahead of him, forcing the German to take avoiding action as the Williams came back across the track in his path. After the Merc runs silence descended as the fielded headed back into the pits to swap to the softer, faster rubber for the final ten minutes.

Nico Hulkenberg hit the front only to lose out to Paul di Resta who in turn lost out to Button with a 1:13.192. Lap after lap his rivals tried to close the gap only for Button to put in an even quicker 1:13.188. Vettel came the closest to matching him, 0.057s adrift. Webber was third. Alonso put in just one lap on the mediums before heading back into the pits for the final few minutes of practice.

01 Jenson Button McLaren 1:13.188 22 laps
02 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:13.245 0.057 21 laps
03 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:13.385 0.197 25 laps
04 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:13.389 0.201 17 laps
05 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:13.420 0.232 24 laps
06 Paul di Resta Force India 1:13.486 0.298 21 laps
07 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:13.602 0.414 22 laps
08 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:13.691 0.503 15 laps
09 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:13.700 0.512 20 laps
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:13.712 0.524 17 laps
11 Bruno Senna Williams 1:13.948 0.760 20 laps
12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:14.126 0.938 25 laps
13 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:14.190 1.002 26 laps
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:14.192 1.004 21 laps
15 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:14.347 1.159 24 laps
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:14.687 1.499 21 laps
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:14.972 1.784 19 laps
18 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:15.159 1.971 22 laps
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:15.707 2.519 21 laps
20 Timo Glock Marussia 1:15.763 2.575 24 laps
21 Charles Pic Marussia 1:16.059 2.871 21 laps
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:16.198 3.010 15 laps
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:16.793 3.605 18 laps
Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 3 laps

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