• Indian Grand Prix - FP3

Vettel reveals raw Red Bull pace

Laurence Edmondson at the Buddh International Circuit
October 29, 2011
Sebastian Vettel showed some of Red Bull's potential in final practice © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel put Red Bull at the top of the time sheets for the first time at the Indian Grand Prix weekend after setting the fastest lap yet at the Buddh International Circuit during final practice.

On his final attempt Vettel clocked a 1:24.824, setting the fastest time in the first and final sectors after coming across traffic in sector two. Rather ominously, his team-mate Mark Webber, who was third fastest, set the best middle sector of the session, proving the car's pace throughout the lap. Jenson Button managed to split the two Red Bulls in second place but was 0.367s slower than Vettel. The battle for second was close, with Lewis Hamilton in fourth behind Webber but just a tenth off his McLaren team-mate.

After topping the timesheets yesterday the Ferrari's dropped to more familiar territory setting times roughly a second off the pace of Vettel. Fernando Alonso led Felipe Massa for the first time this weekend, although Ferrari appeared to be experimenting for first part of the session with a very wobbly front wing on Massa's car.

Paul di Resta maintained Force India's strong showing this weekend in seventh place, ahead of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes in eight. Adrian Sutil in the second Force India and Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso rounded out the top ten.

Most drivers split their time between the hard and soft tyres, despite predictions that the softs will see more use in the race. The Red Bulls waited until the last five minutes to do their soft tyres laps after a long time analysing the hards, possibly to see if they can make it through Q1 without using the much faster softs. Vettel's times were particularly impressive once he got the tyres up to temperature and were in a similar ballpark to the McLarens and Ferraris on the softs.

For the most part the drivers avoided any major incidents as the track appeared to offer more grip and feature less dust. Bruno Senna had the most dramatic spin of the session on his final lap, as he lost the rear of the car in the middle of the high-speed turn 10. But he managed to avoid the barriers and finished the session 12th fastest, one place behind Schumacher's Mercedes and two places ahead of team-mate Vitaly Petrov.