Vettel ahead but with reduced gaps

on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Italy, Autodromo Nazionale di Monzait

Final practice in Italy saw Sebastian Vettel again leading the timesheet. As the competition stiffened, especially from Alonso and Webber, his advantage turned out to be smaller than on Friday, now down to 3 tenths.

The Italian sun was again present, heating the track to somewhere around the same temperatures as on Friday. That's one concern out of the way as teams focus on further aerodynamic evaluation and qualifying simulations in the final practice session.

Exemplary of this are the first laps of both Red Bull Racing cars. Both were thoroughly painted with flowviz to verify the effects of the low downforce front wing. By the end of the lap, each car was greenish on one side as the paint flew off the front wing and onto the front wheel and sidepod.

The session again saw many drivers go off shortly. Only Di Resta had a more serious off at Parabolica, going head on into the barriers. Paul reported to be ok immediately, but also believed something on the car broke, resulting in even more damage on the car thanks to the tecpro barrier. Force India surely will know what to do ahead of qualifying.

Ferrari meanwhile also drew some attention as the team was again practicing slipstreaming, with first Massa giving Alonso a tow, followed by the other way around the next lap.

Nico Rosberg was having less fun as halfway into the session he returned to the pits with an overheating gearbox. The team began to dismantle the car and found a hydraulic issue. Team principal Ross Brawn however was quick to confirm that it could be fixed in time for qualifying.

Performance wise, nothing much appeared to have changed since yesterday. Until 5 minutes from the end, Vettel still had 6 tenths in hand over everybody else, with Webber the closest competitor.

The final minutes again saw a lot of action on track though, further seeing improvements from Vettel and his closest competitors. Positions didn't change a lot, but the advantage of Vettel slowly seemed to disappear as Webber and Alonso further upped their pace.

Results

Pos.No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:24.36018
23Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:24.6430.28313
32Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:24.6770.31722
410Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:24.7120.35217
56Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:24.8640.50419
619Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:24.8650.50519
74Felipe MassaFerrari1:24.9950.63514
85Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:25.1030.74315
916Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:25.1160.75620
107Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault1:25.1200.76018
1118Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:25.1360.77616
1211Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:25.2730.91321
1312Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:25.3240.96422
148Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:25.4991.13917
1517Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:25.6601.30021
1615Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:25.7021.34219
1714Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:26.1201.76011
1820Charles PicCaterham-Renault1:26.6072.24721
1921Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:27.1722.81220
2022Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:27.6053.24518
2123Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1:27.6653.30518
229Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:27.8223.4625