Sebastian Vettel was again fastest in final practice for the Singapore GP
World Champion ends session 0.191s ahead of Romain Grosjean's Lotus
By Mike Wise in Singapore. Last Updated: 21/09/13 3:22pm
Sebastian Vettel: Still on top in Singapore
Sebastian Vettel was fastest once again in final practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, although the World Champion's margin was not that which he enjoyed on Friday.
Vettel lapped the 5.065km Marina Bay circuit in a time of 1:44.173s seconds. Lotus's Romain Grosjean was second fastest, 0.191s slower, with the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg third.
Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber was fourth fastest ahead of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso sixth ahead of Sergio Perez (McLaren). Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber), Jenson Button (McLaren) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari) completed the top ten.
Speaking after he lapped 0.6s faster than the field on Friday night, Vettel expressed surprise at such a large gap and predicted that Mercedes might be closer during qualifying.
The gap did come down in P3, with Rosberg 0.568s slower than his compatriot and Hamilton a couple of tenths further back on the supersoft tyre.
However, Grosjean ended the session as Vettel's nearest pursuer, suggesting perhaps that Lotus might be able to produce a stronger qualifying performance later on Saturday.
As usual, the picture is clouded by fuel levels and traffic. The lack of the latter appeared to help Grosjean but also affected the performance of his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who ended the session 12th fastest after struggling to put a clean lap together.
Elsewhere, the answer to the question of whether Ferrari have solved the oversteer problems they suffered on Friday was not conclusively found in the lap times of their drivers, with Alonso still over a second slower than Vettel.
McLaren picked up more or less where they left off on Friday, and while Williams appeared slightly better-placed than they had been - Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas finished 13th and 15th respectively - Force India made a step backwards with Paul di Resta 16th after a spin, two places ahead of Adrian Sutil.
Coming up in Qualifying
Daniel Ricciardo ended the session 14th fastest and also overcame brake problems to go fastest of all early on with a lap of 1:48.001s on the medium tyre.
Grosjean, Hamilton and then Webber all bettered it, with Vettel fifth in the order after half an hour, about 0.8s down. But he kept improving and eventually moved up to second place on the prime, 0.079s behind his team-mate.
There is also no sign as yet of the gearbox problems which Red Bull had to manage during the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago.
Vettel and Webber must qualify and race with the same gearboxes, which are at the end of their lifecycles. Both picked up damage to their dog rings at Monza and Red Bull will be monitoring the situation going forward this weekend. Qualifying starts at 2pm BST.