Formula 1 News

Vettel pips Schumacher in final practice

Red Bull still strong, and Mercedes keep gaining momentum.
Saturday, May 7, 2011

ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 7, 2011 (AFP) - Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel bounced back to his usual form when he topped the times for Red Bull in the final free practice session Saturday's for the Turkish Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old German made light of missing the entire Friday afternoon session, during which his car was repaired following his collision with barriers, clocking a best time of one minute and 26.037 seconds.

His performance ended seven-times champion Michael Schumacher's hopes of topping the screens for Mercedes, after the German had clocked a lap in 1:26:038 - a gap of just one-thousandth.

Third fastest behind the two Germans was Australian Mark Webber in the second Red Bull ahead of fourth-placed German Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes, a performance that indicated that Mercedes, with a package of good
revisions to their car at the Istanbul Park track, have pushed into a very competitive position.

Britons Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton of McLaren were fifth and sixth fastest respectively, the 2009 champion and his predecessor as the title holder proving unable to prevent the Mercedes resurgence that may threaten Red

Russian Vitaly Petrov of Renault continued his good form also with seventh place ahead of two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso, in the leading Ferrari.

Alonso's team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa was ninth and Swiss Sebastien Buemi was 10th for Toro Rosso.

The session was run in cool and dry conditions under a cloudless blue sky and, at first sight, suggested that Saturday afternoon's qualifying session could see a three-way scrap for pole between the leading men from the Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren teams, with Ferrari languishing again.

Here are the times:

1 1 S. Vettel GER Red Bull-Renault 1:26.037 17
2 7 M. Schumacher GER  Mercedes 1:26.038 17
3 2 M. Webber AUS  Red Bull-Renault 1:26.404 16
4 8 N. Rosberg GER  Mercedes 1:26.420 19
5 4 J.  Button GBR  McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.578 17
6 3 L. Hamilton GBR  McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.726 14
7 17 V.Petrov MEX  Renault 1:26.755 20
8 6 F. Alonso BRA  Ferrari 1:26.819 12
9 5 F.Massa ESP  Ferrari 1:26.883 12
10 18 S. Buemi SUI  Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.080 16
11 21 S. Perez ITA  Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.121 20
12 12 P. Maldonado VEN  Williams-Cosworth 1:27.255 18
13 14 A. Sutil GER  Force India-Mercedes 1:27.318 19
14 16 N. Heidfeld JPN  Renault 1:27.379 17
15 11 R. Barrichello BRA  Williams-Cosworth 1:27.528 19
16 15 P. di Resta GBR  Force India-Mercedes 1:27.644 18
17 19 J.  Alguersuari ESP  Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.724 15
18 20 K. Kobayashi FIN  Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.976 19
19 9 H. Kovalainen GER  Lotus-Renault 1:28.911 15
20 10 J. Trulli RUS  Lotus-Renault 1:29.697 17
21 25 J. D'Ambrosio BEL  Virgin-Cosworth 1:31.097 25
22 24 T. Glock GER  Virgin-Cosworth 1:31.175 19
23 23 T. Liuzzi ITA  HRT-Cosworth 1:31.375 19
24 22 N. Karthikeyan IND  HRT-Cosworth 1:32.009 15

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