Red Bull’s Vettel fastest in final German Grand Prix practice
Local favourite Sebastian Vettel set the quickest lap in the final practice session for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
The Heppenheim-born Red Bull driver posted an impressive time of 1:15.103, almost three-tenths quicker than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and over a second quicker than the Spaniard quickest time from Friday’s second practice session.
Mark Webber was third, seventh tenths slower than his team-mate, followed by Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, and Lewis Hamilton.
Michael Schumacher was four tenths slower than his team-mate Rosberg with a time of 1:16.473, just ahead of former Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello. Renault’s Robert Kubica took ninth, with Nico HÃƒÂ¼lkenberg ensuring Williams’ good run this weekend continued as both cars made it into the top 10.
The 60-minute session was declared wet, and all 24 drivers completed an installation lap with most drivers slowly feeling their way around the circuit.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who was hampered by problems in free practice two yesterday, was again unable to run as mechanics spent more time working on his car.
Despite being competitive in practice on Friday, Adrian Sutil was unable to set a time in FP3 after a drive-shaft problem meant his Force India was on jacks for the session.
With the track drying, drivers began to find confidence in the tyres and the lap times continued to tumble with the threat of more rain looming.
The rain failed to materialise and with 15 minutes remaining and with drivers switching to the option super-soft tyres, the quickest lap changed some 14 times.
Mark Webber set an early benchmark, with that time later blitzed by six seconds before the end of the session.
Both Ferraris and McLarens also set quick times to top the time sheet at one point, but it was Vettel who came out on top as Red Bull turned up the wick to go for their tenth pole of the season.
Kamui Kobayashi showed he could mix it with the big players in qualifying as he just missed out on the top 10, while Sebastien Buemi was 12th quickest for Toro Rosso.
Jenson Button again struggled for McLaren, lapping 13th quickest, eight tenths slower than Hamilton, who again ran fewer laps than the reigning world champion.
Lotus resumed their place as quickest of the rookies with Heikki Kovalainen 1.6 seconds down on Liuzzi in 18th place, and Trulli half-a-second slower.
Virgin Racing had a nightmare session at the back as they finished 22nd and 23rd, over two seconds slower than both Hispania cars.
Red Bull again look good for pole position. Only Ferrari seem likely to have the pace to stop them locking out the front row again.
Mercedes should be in the mix for row three on the grid along with Hamilton, and it is hard to look past the Williams getting in the mix after a stunning weekend by their recent standards.