Korean GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report
Button keeps up the pressure
With the Korean weather finally co-operating with the F1 fraternity and allowing dry running in the final session of free practice, it was Jenson Button (1:36.910) who underlined McLaren's recent progress and set the quickest time.
The session was dominated by McLaren, with Button and Lewis Hamilton (1:37.199) trading quickest laps throughout. With Mark Webber's best on the supersoft tyre a 1:37.733, it looks as if McLaren could be well placed to spoil Red Bull's 100% 2011 pole position record when qualifying starts.
The man chasing Nigel Mansell's record 14 pole positions in 1992 is of course new double champion Sebastian Vettel, but we never actually got to see his potential as his best laps on Pirelli's supersoft compound were blocked by Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso, much to Sebastian's disgust.
Vettel finished the session ninth quickest (1:39.695) after reporting an initial vibration on the prime tyre.
It looks as if fears of Pirelli's tyre strategy being too aggressive and people running out of tyres in the race may once again be unfounded. A radio message to Michael Schumacher towards the end of the session revealed that Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg had done 10 laps on the supersoft, so Michael could keep pushing.
The Mercedes is not the easiest chassis on its tyres, so that would point to chasis that is, such as Ferrari or Sauber in particular, getting through the 55 laps on a three-stop strategy without difficulty and possibly even with two stops.
It was interesting too, that Button's session-topping best came after he had backed off after an intial quick run on the supersofts, and then gone again.
Fernando Alonso (1:38.029) was fourth quickest in a Ferrari fitted with a new front wing, the Spaniard lapping just over four tenths quicker than team mate Felipe Massa (1:38.433).
Schumacher's Mercedes (1:39.599) finished the session sixth quickest, ahead of Vitaly Petrov's Renault (1:39.612) and Adrian Sutil's Force India (1:39.660). Rosberg's Mercedes completed the top 10 (1:39.743).
After Rosberg's incident witjh Jaime Alguersuari yesterday, which attracted a 5000 Euro fine -- not for the actual collision but for failing to report immediately to the stewards -- there is now a flashing yellow arrow on the pit wall to warn drivers when another car is leaving the pitlane.
Bruno Senna finished the session down in 16th place after a spin at Turn 14 which slightly damaged the Renault's front wing.