Published: Saturday October 6, 2012 MYT 11:35:00 AM
Updated: Saturday October 6, 2012 MYT 12:38:09 PM
Formula One: Vettel tops final practice in Japan
SUZUKA, Japan: Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel on Saturday set the fastest time in final practice for the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber.
Germany's Vettel, who has started from pole position three times this season, clocked a best time of one minute 32.136 seconds, just over two-tenths of a second quicker than the Australian.
Third fastest, almost half a second behind Webber, was Felipe Massa, whose position at Ferrari is under intense scrutiny as the season reaches its climax.
Behind the Brazilian was Michael Schumacher of Mercedes, who recovered well from Friday afternoon's crash but faces a 10-place grid penalty for causing a collision in the last race in Singapore.
Fifth and sixth fastest were the Sauber pair of Sergio Perez, the young Mexican who is bound for McLaren in 2013, and Kamui Kobayashi, the only Japanese driver in Formula 1.
Seventh was France's Romain Grosjean in a Lotus, with Briton Jenson Button of McLaren eighth-quickest after being slowed by heavy traffic in a busy end to the one-hour session.
Paul di Resta also fought back well from a Friday accident to finish ninth fastest for Force India, whose other driver, Nico Hulkenberg, crashed heavily with 20 minutes of the session remaining.
Tenth fastest for Williams was Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado. - AFP
SUZUKA, Japan: Japanese Grand Prix free practice results on Saturday:
Third free practice
1. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing 1:32.136,
2. Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing 1:32.371,
3. Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari 1:32.824,
4. Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG 1:32.918,
5. Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber 1:32.920,
6. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber 1:32.924,
7. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1:33.008,
8. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes 1:33.025,
9. Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India 1:33.094,
10. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams 1:33.160,
11. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari 1:33.184,
12. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus 1:33.224,
13. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes 1:33.569,
14. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:33.722,
15. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG 1:33.899,
16. Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams 1:33.984, 17.
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:34.023,
18. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India 1:34.369,
19. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham 1:35.568,
20. Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham 1:36.355,
21. Timo Glock (GER) Marussia 1:36.389,
22. Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia 1:36.517,
23. Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT 1:36.649,
24. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT 1:36.875 - AFP