Prac Three: The narrowest of margins

Date published: May 7 2011

Seb Vettel came back from his crash to take the P1 slot in the final practice session in Turkey, edging Michael Schumacher by 0.001s.

Schumacher was the early pace-setter in the dry on Saturday morning and managed to his keep his name near the top of the timesheets as rivals, including his own team-mate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastien Buemi, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, all took a turn at the top of the timesheets.

But with less than five minutes remaining in the session it was again Schumacher in the P1 slot with a 1:26.038.

However, his reign was short-lived as Vettel, despite having to contend with traffic, crossed the line 0.001s faster.

The Red Bull driver, though, did have several KERS issues.

Report: Blue skies and a track temperature of 27’C greeted the drivers at the start of the weekend’s final practice session. The drivers were quickly out on track for their installation laps with Sebastian Vettel back into the action in his repaired RB7 following Friday morning’s crash.

Michael Schumacher set the early pace, a 1:27.619 for the Mercedes GP driver. Jenson Button slotted in behind him, ahead of Kamui Kobayashi. But it was all change as Nico Rosberg then went quickest with Lewis Hamilton taking second place. Sebastian Vettel claimed P5 on his first timed dry lap of the weekend, 2.102s off the pace.

Jaime Alguersuari spun his STR into the gravel at Turn 4 with the marshals having to return it to his Toro Rosso garage. Mark Webber spun his RB7 but continued on his way.

Vettel hit the front with a 1:27.134 while Webber climbed to third place. Vitaly Petrov joined the fight at the front, taking fourth place ahead of Hamilton and Schumacher. Rosberg had a moment through Turn 8 that almost resulted in him putting his car into the barriers.

Sebastien Buemi put in a blinder to take the P1 slot from Vettel by 0.054s. His reign was short-lived as Felipe Massa went quickest and although it appeared as if Vettel would overhaul him, the German lost time in the final sector. It soon emerged that Vettel was suffering with KERS issues.

Fernando Alonso hit the front with a 1:26.819 before he was dropped by Rosberg, who in turn lost out to Schumacher. Gearbox issues for Alonso, who was stuck in sixth gear. Button improved to third place. Vettel took the P1 slot by 0.001s over Schumacher.

The session ended with Vettel on top, ahead of Schumacher and Webber.

Times
01. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m26.037s 17 laps
02. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m26.038s + 0.001s 17 laps
03. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.404s + 0.367s 16 laps
04. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.420s + 0.383s 19 laps
05. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.578s + 0.541s 17 laps
06. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.726s + 0.689s 14 laps
07. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m26.755s + 0.718s 20 laps
08. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.819s + 0.782s 12 laps
09. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.883s + 0.846s 12 laps
10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.080s + 1.043s 16 laps
11. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.121s + 1.084s 20 laps
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m27.255s + 1.218s 18 laps
13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m27.318s + 1.281s 19 laps
14. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m27.379s + 1.342s 17 laps
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m27.528s + 1.491s 19 laps
16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m27.644s + 1.607s 18 laps
17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.724s + 1.687s 15 laps
18. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.976s + 1.939s 19 laps
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m28.911s + 2.874s 15 laps
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m29.697s + 3.660s 17 laps
21. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m31.097s + 5.060s 25 laps
22. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m31.175s + 5.138s 19 laps
23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m31.375s + 5.338s 19 laps
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m32.009s + 5.972s 15 laps