Sebastian Vettel has responded to the threat of Mercedes in practice for this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix by finishing the final practice session at the top of the timesheets.
The German driver posted a best time of 1:37.881 to finish just ahead of teammate Mark Webber and the Silver Arrows of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, with the quartet of drivers appearing to be the only ones with a realistic chance of winning the race this weekend.
During the fuelled runs on the medium compound tire, Red Bull were once again dominant as Webber led from Vettel ahead of the final runs on the softer rubber. Eventually though, the three-time world champion managed to create a 0.137 second gap that makes him an early favorite for qualifying later today.
Having topped FP1 and FP2, Lewis Hamilton will undoubtedly be disappointed to have fallen so far back from Vettel, although the British driver did suffer from traffic on more than one occasion during the ninety minute session. Ultimately, Mercedes could not match Red Bull’s pace in the final sector, handing the defending champions the advantage.
Ferrari and Lotus once again scrapped for the positions following Mercedes and Red Bull, with Fernando Alonso putting in an impressive time on the prime tire ahead of the qualifying simulation runs. Once again, the Spaniard will be keen on planning ahead for the race on Sunday with pole position appearing to be well out of reach.
Having shared the spoils during practice so far this weekend, it is difficult to see whether the advantage lies with Red Bull or Mercedes. However, with Webber set to drop ten places on the grid, the German marque could benefit from having two drivers with which to combat Vettel at the head of the field.