• German Grand Prix - FP3

Vettel shines in final practice

ESPNF1 Staff
July 24, 2010
Sebastian Vettel goes into qualifying in a confident frame of mind © Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of the final practice session for the German Grand Prix as the lap times tumbled in the final ten minutes on a drying circuit.

Vettel clocked a best effort of 1:15.103 ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and team-mate Mark Webber as the session ended in sunshine.

It was a different story early on as dark clouds and rain greeted the teams at the start of the session. Adrian Sutil was the first driver to slither off line on cold rubber as the majority of teams hit the circuit for an early installation lap.

The Force India driver, who enjoyed a productive Friday of running, then suffered a drive shaft problem shortly afterwards and limped back to the pits with 40 minutes of the session still remaining.

With the circuit damp in some sections and dry in others, it left teams with a difficult decision on which tyres to use, some running intermediates and others slick tyres. As the track dried towards the end of the session, most teams decided to try out the softer option tyres and the times tumbled accordingly on a busy circuit.

After his trials and tribulations of yesterday, Lewis Hamilton will be happy with a problem free morning after McLaren opted to run its new blown diffuser for the remainder of the weekend. Hamilton ended the day sixth quickest between the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher with team-mate Jenson Button down in 13th.

However, the battle for pole this afternoon should be between Red Bull and Ferrari, as Rosberg was the only driver from another team to get within a second of Vettel. Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari finished the session fourth fastest but was still 0.751 seconds off the lead Red Bull.

Further down the field, Williams again looks as though it will challenge for a top ten grid spot with Rubens Barrichello eighth and Nico Hulkenberg tenth. The pair were split by the Renault of Robert Kubica in ninth and closely followed by the Sauber of Kamui Kobayahshi in eleventh.

At the back of the field the two Lotuses led the way in the battle of the new teams. However, both Virgin drivers missed out on the best of the running due to separate problems with their cars. Like Sutil, who only completed two laps in total and failed to set a lap time, Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi will be hoping any gremlins can be ironed out before qualifying.

The weather is still hard to predict although all the teams are preparing for both a wet and a dry session this afternoon. Even if the rain stays away, the qualifying hour should still be eventful as the track is improving with every lap as rubber is put down on the circuit. The later a driver leaves his run, the better the track conditions will be.