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Vettel dominates final practice

NEWS STORY
13/10/2012

Ahead of today's sole practice session, the air temperature is 19 degrees C, while the track temperature is 24 degrees.

Sebastian Vettel headed a Red Bull 1-2 in yesterday's second session, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Interestingly, while Lewis Hamilton could only manage eighth, he was quickest in the morning, his time good enough for third overall at the end of the day.

That said, the morning time was posted on the prime rubber, the McLaren star never quite getting to grips with the options in the afternoon. This was reflected in his attitude on Friday afternoon which would best be described as "grumpy".

One driver who did have pace in the afternoon, especially on the longer runs with heavy fuel, was Suzuka hero Felipe Massa, so keep an eye on him.

Michael Schumacher was officially reprimanded for impeding the HRTs - both of them - in the afternoon, while Charles Pic will take a ten place grid penalty after his team opted to change his engine.

The green and dusty track has seen offs and lock-ups aplenty and that is likely to continue today, what with the track not being used for the remainder of the year and there only being one support race this weekend.

Lotus has opted to run its new Coanda exhaust on Kimi Raikkonen's car only, while both McLarens are running the new floor today.

The lights go green and Kovalainen leads the way, followed by Vergne, di Resta, Ricciardo, Massa, Grosjean and whole heap of others.

Raikkonen is told to look after his right-front tyre as "this could be a qualifying and race set".

Five minutes into the session, all but Kobayashi - the other Suzuka hero - is the only driver yet to make an appearance.

Raikkonen and Ricciardo are the first drivers out for a second run, the clock now standing at 45:55.

Having gone quickest (natch) in the first two sectors, Raikkonen ease off in S3, crossing the line at 1:46.111. Moments later, Ricciardo posts 40.983.

It's worth pointing out that the pitlane exit, which feed into the exit of the final corner, was the scene of a number of incident yesterday, drivers coming close to tripping up over one another on a number of occasions.

Second time around Raikkonen improves to 39.748, while Vergne goes third on 41.165.

As Vettel goes second (40.017), countryman Rosberg is told to "avoid weaving in front of other cars".

More and more drivers pour on to the track, Raikkonen remaining top with a 39.711. Shortly after, Grosjean makes it a Lotus 1-2, the Frenchman crossing the line at 39.878.

A 39.086 sees Vettel go quickest. With 35:00 on the clock all but Massa, Alonso, Petrov, Button and Hamilton have posted times.

Senna is told to pit, the Brazilian advised of "big front wing problems".

Webber improves from fourth to go quickest (38.766), the Australian quickest in the final two sectors.

Still too appear, Ferrari and McLaren either have problems, are totally confident or totally despondent. We'll soon know, all four drivers are on track.

On his first flying lap, Alonso goes second (39.084), as the Mercedes duo go fourth (Rosberg) and fifth, the German team looking strong here.

Hamilton can only manage 48.767 on his first lap, while teammate Button goes ninth (39.958). Massa posts 39.598 to go sixth.

Second time around, Hamilton improves to 38.845 to go second, just 0.079s shy of Webber.

Having been impeded by Schumacher yesterday, today Karthikeyan points the finger at Perez. Elsewhere, a big lock-up for Alonso.

As Hamilton goes quickest in S1, Button goes second overall, the Englishman banging in a 38.808. Hamilton subsequently posts 38.464 to go quickest.

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