Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013

Vettel stays ahead as Ferrari close the gap

2013 Belgian Grand Prix third practice

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013Sebastian Vettel remained on top in the third practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix.

But Red Bull’s margin over their pursuers was much reduced in the final hour of practice before qualifying. Fernando Alonso split the two RB9s at the top of the times sheets and was just a tenth of a second slower than the championship leader.

Jean-Eric Vergne showed impressive pace in the Toro Rosso on hard and medium tyres. He ended the session fourth, less than half a second slower than Vettel around the seven-kilometre Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

There was some encouragement for McLaren as Jenson Button put his MP4-28 in sixth place. Sauber also had cause for cheer as Esteban Gutierrez ended the session seventh.

The quickest Lotus belonged to Romain Grosjean in eighth place. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen was tenth, the pair sandwiching Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes, which developed a problem at the end of the session. Rosberg was advised to cool the car as he returned to the pits.

team mate Lewis Hamilton had a harmless spin at the chicane during the session and ended up 12th quickest behind Daniel Ricciardo.

There were no repeats of the punctures seen during yesterday’s practice, which Pirelli blamed on debris.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’48.32716
23Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’48.4320.10514
32Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’48.5330.20616
418Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’48.7760.44915
54Felipe MassaFerrari1’48.7880.46115
65Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’48.8820.55513
712Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’48.9300.60318
88Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’48.9670.64014
99Nico RosbergMercedes1’48.9930.66616
107Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’49.0080.68117
1119Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’49.0350.70815
1210Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’49.0460.71917
1315Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’49.1220.79515
1417Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’49.1770.85015
1514Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’49.2260.89914
166Sergio PerezMcLaren1’49.4171.09014
1711Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’49.4781.15119
1816Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’50.4182.09114
1920Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’51.4163.08915
2021Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’51.8003.47318
2122Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’52.2213.89417
2223Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’53.5075.18018

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’55.6361’49.3311’48.327-1.00452
2Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’55.1981’50.5101’48.432-2.07846
3Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’58.9291’49.3901’48.533-0.85762
4Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’57.0841’50.2531’48.776-1.47760
5Felipe MassaFerrari1’56.8631’50.1641’48.788-1.37652
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’57.2811’51.1951’48.882-2.31355
7Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’55.9541’51.6441’48.930-2.71462
8Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault2’03.1761’50.1491’48.967-1.18263
9Nico RosbergMercedes1’55.6141’50.6011’48.993-1.60859
10Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’59.4411’50.3181’49.008-1.3161
11Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’56.7701’51.4471’49.035-2.41255
12Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’57.3581’50.7511’49.046-1.70554
13Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’55.3731’50.6291’49.122-1.50756
14Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’56.8581’51.5681’49.177-2.39161
15Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’55.2241’50.6111’49.226-1.38551
16Sergio PerezMcLaren1’55.5181’50.5361’49.417-1.11955
17Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’56.1101’50.9721’49.478-1.49463
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’57.0811’50.9911’50.418-0.57356
19Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’53.2511’51.416-1.83544
20Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’57.8871’53.1571’51.800-1.35755
21Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’59.2091’53.4821’52.221-1.26157
22Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’58.6001’54.4181’53.507-0.91144
23Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’57.82116

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Pirelli/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “Vettel stays ahead as Ferrari close the gap”

  1. Ferrari and RBR in particular look ominously quick.
    Can anyone give me any reassurance that Mercedes are holding back?
    Or is there simply no hope?

    1. @gazz They’ve had the fastest car over a single lap in eight out of ten races so far. It would be quite a surprise if they’re suddenly off by six tenths of a second and slower than McLaren, Toro Rosso and Sauber.

      1. Exactly what I thought!
        I have been watching F1 for years and just can’t figure out why they seem to have no pace.
        Every time I saw any kind of onboard, especially from Lewis, the car just looked all over the place.
        I hope they have something in reserve.

    2. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      24th August 2013, 11:17

      @gazz Merc were never pushing. Running some other schedules, maybe.

      1. Yeah, I noticed that Merc were frequently downshifting through Eau Rouge. A car on the limit with low fuel can easily do that corner in 7th.

        1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
          24th August 2013, 11:29

          Yeah, even I wondered why! The fact that both drivers were doing so is even more mysterious.

  2. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
    24th August 2013, 11:16

    That looks like a nice table. Will be interesting to see if Ferrari have actually closed the gap to RBR and Merc in qualifying.

  3. Heres hoping. The whole of Mercedes title battle rests on this race. Don’t worry, I’ve told Grojean to take Vettel out on the 1st corner ;-)

    1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      24th August 2013, 11:19

      He will need about $500,000 to do that. Wanna pool the costs members? :p

        1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
          24th August 2013, 11:25

          @vettel1 I guess I will too. I am saving up for a PS4.

      1. @sheyasf1fan

        Yes, I’ll go look behind the sofa. Mind you, you could probably hit Neweys car with 1000 tonnes of TNT and it would survive AND handle better than before xD

        1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
          24th August 2013, 11:30

          @full-throttle-f1 That seems like a bit of an exaggeration, my friend. xD ;)

          1. @shreyasf1fan

            ok, 995 tonnes is more realistic :-)

  4. I was astonished just how close the field was today. At one point I saw the top 18 (namely all cars except Caterham and Marussia) were seperated by .9 of a second. Considering it’s the longest track of the year, that’s quite extraordinary.

    1. @jackysteeg

      In the words of Pf Brian Cox “Its Amazin'”

    2. I noticed that and thought the same. When it’s that closely matched car setup and driver performance are surely more significant.

    3. Thats why we called it = drivers circuit.

  5. I’m just interested now to see just how much Mercedes have been holding in reserve. Red Bull didn’t improve massively today which could also suggest they were holding back slightly, so maybe we’ve got a good qualifying battle on our hands (although now I’ve said that inevitably Mercedes will cruise to an easy pole).

    1. Looking forward. Go Lewis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. I think Merc was definitely holding back, but Red Bull also traditionally sand bags a bit in practice. My money would still be on Merc for pole. But if Kimi is in top 3 I will be a happy bunny :)

      1. I was right about Merc. I don’t foresee a repeat of Hungary for Hamilton

        1. hamilton is incredible

  6. Well, this was a very good sign! Ferrari seem to have made a significant step forward! It just sucks they had a terrible qualy. I think they have their work cut out for them!

Comments are closed.