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Grosjean challenges Vettel in Singapore FP3

Romain Grosjean finished FP3 in second place (Andrew Ferraro/Lotus F1 Team)

Romain Grosjean finished FP3 in second place (Andrew Ferraro/Lotus F1 Team)

Sebastian Vettel seems determined to clinch his fourth Drivers’ Championship at the earliest possible opportunity in the 2013 season. He’s won the last two races to take his victory tally to six this season, and he’s setting the pace in Singapore ahead of Saturday’s qualfiying session.

The only driver who’s managed to come anywhere close to Vettel on the supersoft tyres this weekend is Lotus’s Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman finished FP3 just 0.191 seconds slower than Vettel, an impressive performance in a Lotus that looked off the pace on Friday.

For Mercedes and Ferrari, things are not going quite so well. Nico Rosberg put his Silver Arrow third in the final practice session, but he was over half a second off the pace, which is a long way to catch up if he is to challenge for pole position.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who desperately needs a win this weekend to keep Vettel in his sights in the title race, was sixth fastest, a full second off the pace of Vettel. It’s possible that Ferrari were hiding their pace in order to lull Red Bull into complacency, but even so a second is a lot of pace to hide.

The only drama of the session was provided by Paul Di Resta, who spun under braking for turn 5. He managed to keep his Force India out of the barriers and carried on, but will have done his tyres no favours in the process. He finished the session all the way down in 16th place.

Full results from FP3:

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:44.173 15
2 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:44.364 0.191 16
3 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:44.741 0.568 18
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:44.906 0.733 14
5 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:44.921 0.748 14
6 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:45.257 1.084 13
7 6 Sergio Perez McLaren 1:45.500 1.327 12
8 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1:45.876 1.703 19
9 5 Jenson Button McLaren 1:45.890 1.717 13
10 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:45.935 1.762 13
11 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:46.084 1.911 15
12 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1:46.147 1.974 13
13 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:46.338 2.165 17
14 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:46.358 2.185 16
15 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:46.660 2.487 17
16 14 Paul di Resta Force India 1:46.879 2.706 16
17 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:46.893 2.720 13
18 15 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:47.249 3.076 19
19 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:48.931 4.758 17
20 20 Charles Pic Caterham 1:49.037 4.864 18
21 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:49.182 5.009 21
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia 1:49.982 5.809 20
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About Chris Cameron-Dow

I'm fanatical about racing. Driving, watching, following, analysing, everything.

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