Vettel still quickest as red flags end Practice 3
22 September 2012 – Sebastian Vettel has completed a hat-trick of topping practice sessions in Singapore, fastest ahead of qualifying on Saturday. The Champion led Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso as a crash for Vitaly Petrov ended the action three minutes early.
Following the GP2 race in which Italian Davide Valsecchi was crowned Champion, the final hour of F1 practice commenced in daylight - to the confusion of some drivers. Runs on the Super Soft tyres resulted in some rapid lap times, but also some car damage.
Sergio Pérez lost most of his session after breaking his right-rear suspension against the Armco of Turn 18. The error was repeated by Mark Webber, who also had to spend time in the garage.
Arguably most fortunate was Timo Glock, who suffered a suspected stuck throttle and slammed on his brakes to avoid a large impact at Turn 20; with rear wheels locked up, the Marussia driver managed to bring his car to a stop in the run-off area.
Vettel set the pace with his best effort of 1:47.947, leading the ever-threatening Hamilton by three tenths of a second; just how much of the margin is fuel load-related will be discovered in tonight’s qualifying session. With championship leader Alonso third, Force India kept up their promising run of form in fourth and seventh places; this could be a strong weekend for the Silverstone team, not least as Lotus and Sauber appear to be off the pace.
Petrov suffered his sizeable accident in the closing stages, breaking his rear suspension against the wall of Turn 21, then opening DRS to clout the wall a second time and spin through 360 degrees. The Russian became stranded in the pit lane entrance, with the consequent stoppage leaving no time for a restart and interrupting numerous final runs.
The qualifying session for the Singapore Grand Prix begins at 9pm local time (BST +7) and can also be tracked via the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report