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Sebastian Vettel continued to lead the way in Saturday morning’s final practice session ahead of the Korean Grand Prix. McLaren filled the second and third slots as Romain Grosjean’s Lotus moved into the top four with its coandă-style exhausts. Mark Webber sunk to seventh after losing the final ten minutes.
As usual, Saturday kicked off with a final hour of practice time ahead of qualifying. The weather remained ideal for what is by far Korea’s warmest Formula 1 weekend since the sport first visited the peninsula two years ago. The track action took place between 11 o’clock and midday.
Having committed to its new exhausts last night, Lotus led the way early doors before Vettel retook the leading position which is rightfully his this weekend. Once again, the World Champion threatened to destroy his rivals and has already arrived in South Korea as victor of the last two events in Singapore and Japan. His best effort came in the form of 1:37.642, seeing off Hamilton by a massive half-second margin.
Prior to Vettel’s last-gasp lap, Hamilton had moved to within two tenths of the German after sealing the only non-Red Bull pole of 2011 here 12 months ago. Behind Button and Grosjean, Kimi Räikkönen ignored issues with traffic to make the top five but was a worrying full second off the leading pace. Championship leader Fernando Alonso finished sixth, two positions ahead of Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa.
Webber’s session was heavily blighted by an issue in the final sixth of the session. As both Red Bull and Renault Sport F1 technicians looked on with worried faces, the Australian ran out of time and was unable to test his car after the problem was seemingly fixed; this issue will now carry over to qualifying and all but seals pole position for Vettel, who is already up to third place in the all-time F1 rankings.
In the midfield this morning, Bruno Senna was called into the Williams pit to fix a front wing issue. Further back, Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov was firmly told to avoid brake pedal crossing – meaning the Russian was applying throttle and brake at the same time and therefore wasting fuel – as Narain Karthikeyan moved ahead of HRT team-mate Pedro de la Rosa, despite missing the entire first session yesterday.
Qualifying for the 2012 Korean Grand Prix starts at 2pm local time (BST +8) and can also be followed through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report
|1.||S. Vettel||Red Bull||01:37.642||17|
|7.||M. Webber||Red Bull||01:38.766||7|
|10.||N. Hulkenberg||Force India||01:38.932||17|
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|2012 South Korean Formula 1 Grand Prix|
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