• Hungarian Grand Prix - FP3

Webber leads the way ahead of qualifying

ESPN Staff
July 28, 2012
Mark Webber set the pace in final practice © Sutton Images

Mark Webber jumped to the top of the timing screens in final practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix as Red Bull showed its true pace for the first time this weekend at the Hungaroring.

Both Webber and team-mate Sebastian Vettel revealed the car's potential midway through the session as they became the first of the front runners to set a time on soft tyres. At first Webber's effort looked beatable as it was only 0.156s faster than Lewis Hamilton on medium tyres, but the soft compound didn't yield the kind of performance gain Hamilton expected and he only improved on his previous time by 0.063s. His fast lap also looked a little ragged, with a big slide heading into the penultimate corner and a few twitchy moments earlier in the session.

Outside the top three Bruno Senna maintained his impressive pace from Friday by going fourth fastest, 0.326s off Webber. Fernando Alonso was just a fraction behind the Williams, but limited his running to just 13 laps after sitting out the first 25 minutes of the hour-long session.

The Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were sixth and seventh, with the latter showing promising pace in the middle sector of his in-lap at the end of the session. The car still looks like it has the potential to do well this weekend, but Raikkonen needs to find 0.403s to get on Webber's pace while Grosjean was 0.560s adrift of the Red Bull.

Felipe Massa was eighth fastest ahead of Force India's Paul di Resta as the top ten was split by just 0.683s. Jenson Button rounded out the top ten but appeared to be struggling with his setup again as he consulted his engineers about the familiar problem of front end grip and tyre temperature during the session.

Both Saubers finished the session outside the top ten, as did the two Mercedes back in 17th and 18th. Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were clearly working on heavy fuel runs early in the session, but still appeared to be off the pace when they switched to lower fuel towards the end of the hour. However, it may be the case that they took the best out of their tyres while running heavy and that their times, roughly 1.3s off Webber, are not representative.