European GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report
Vettel fastest as Red Bull shows its pace
Sebastian Vettel (1:38.052) put Red Bull Racing on top of the time sheets for the first time this weekend as the teams and drivers started to bolt on supersoft tyres and run light fuel loads in preparation for European GP qualifying.
Just as he was in Monte Carlo, Robert Kubica (1:38.152) was a strong factor and was only bumped from top spot in the dying seconds of the session. Mark Webber (1:38.313) was nip and tuck with his team mate throughout the session as well and ended up third quickest. The Red Bulls are again running their F-duct system and look set to qualify and race with it for the first time.
Force India continued to show its improved form with Adrian Sutil (1:38.500) a hundredth of a second quicker than Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, which set the pace on the opening day.
Rubens Barrichello (1:38.623), a superb winner in Valencia for Brawn last year, put a Williams-Cosworth closer to the ultimate pace than at any time this season, setting sixth fastest time, marginally quicker than Tonio Liuzzi (1:38.676) with the second Force India. Felipe Massa (1:38.686), who won here in '08, was only a hundredth further adrift with the second Ferrari, while ninth and 10th places for Jenson Button (1:38.769) and Lewis Hamilton (1:38.816) showed just how competitive the field is at this race. McLaren, remember, has finished 1-2 in the last two grands prix.
The Mercedes team also had a tough morning, with Nico Rosberg (1:38.822) and Michael Schumacher (1:39.222), 11th and 15th respectively. The team again appears to be struggling to get a strong lap out of the supersoft option tyre despite again showing strong long-run pace.