• Turkish Grand Prix - FP3

Vettel recovers in final practice

ESPNF1 Staff
May 7, 2011
Sebastian Vettel was immediately up to speed having missed all of FP2 © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel put yesterday's crash behind him as he set the fastest time in final practice for the Turkish Grand Prix.

Vettel beat Michael Schumacher by just 0.001 seconds, despite spending the whole of the final sector stuck behind Tonio Liuzzi's HRT when setting his fastest time, having been 0.3 seconds up earlier in the lap. Mark Webber was third quickest, ahead of Nico Rosberg as Mercedes continued its strong weekend.

The McLaren pair of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were fifth and sixth respectively in a close session, as third to 15th were separated by less than 1.2 seconds.

With warmer conditions than yesterday the teams were keen to make the most of the session. One man who was making up for lost time was Vettel, who was yet to have any dry running but was top of the timesheets by the half way point. It was not all smooth running for the championship leader though, as another Red Bull KERS issue caused him to have to abort a run on soft tyres to return to the pits.

Jaime Alguersuari only lasted twenty minutes of the session before he spun off at turn 3, stalling the Toro Rosso in the process. Another driver to have trouble keeping his car pointing the right way was Rosberg, who had a big moment in turn 8. He lost the back end after the third apex and slid sideways across the final part of the corner, doing very well to keep the car out of the wall before continuing.

While Mercedes will have been encouraged by being able to compete with the Red Bulls, it was a less smooth session for Fernando Alonso and Ferrari. Having suffered from hydraulic issues yesterday, his car got stuck in sixth gear to again affect his running as he and team-mate Felipe Massa were only able to complete 12 laps each.

There were signs of improvement for Williams as Pastor Maldonado was 12th quickest, and all of the midfield teams appear to be very closely matched ahead of qualifying with the exception of Lotus who found themselves around a second off the pace.

Jerome d'Ambrosio was the busiest man, racking up 25 laps in the hour-long session as Virgin attempt to get the most out of its updated car. The team admitted earlier in the morning that it had been forced to drop its new exhaust system due to overheating issues, and with Liuzzi managing to get within 0.2s of Timo Glock's best time it appears the battle between Virgin and HRT will also be close.