Qualifying day climate in Spain region was more pleasant for viewers at the Circuit de Catalunya; although temperatures may have been a little cooler than usual at 18ºC, light sunshine guaranteed at ease viewing for the local fans who have turned up to see Fernando Alonso in Ferrari red for the first time. It was a normally calm session in terms of track action, not least because of an unprepared red flag phase due to an usual incident 20 minutes in. Upon braking for the Repsol hairpin, Turn 4, the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi lost control on the outside kerbs – still wet from recent rain showers – and spun across the apex before coming to rest in the gravel trap.
But, the Japanese driver was not the largest loser, as he was able to rejoin the session, dissimilar the Renault of Vitaly Petrov which tag on him off the circuit just seconds later; the Russian’s car, though, break to the left and collected the tyre barriers with both the front and rear ends, leaving the Enstone-based team with much work to do on the run-up to qualifying this daylight.
The session restarts again with 32 minutes of running time still to go and no other cars ran into problems until the Force India of Sutil ground to a halt on the grass upon way out Campsa corner
Existing World Champion Jenson Button knowledge a lurid moment at the Turn 5 hairpin, going straight on and nearly off the circuit, even though the McLaren driver remained on the road on his way to fourth place behind co-driver Lewis Hamilton. At the top, Vettel set the pace with a best effort of 1:20.528, slower than yesterday’s second session but 7 tenths quicker than co-driver Webber and 8 tenths up on Lewis.
The seven times world champion Michael Schumacher completed the hour-long practice period ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg once over again as Felipe Massa lead the Ferrari charge from sixth, ahead of Rosberg. There is worry in the grandstands, however, as Alonso could manage no more than eighth spot, one and a half seconds off the leading time. Robert Kubica’s Renault and Sutil’s parked Force India round out the top 10.
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