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Final practice - Vettel pips Webber at the post 21 May 2011

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 20 May 2011 Drama for Heidfeld as his Renault catches fire Alonso waves to the crowd during his installation lap

He sat in the pits for most of the final practice session as team mate Mark Webber set the pace, but right at the end Sebastian Vettel emerged with two and a half minutes to spare to take the honours with a brilliant lap of 1m 21.707s. That was 0.084s faster than the Australian, whose best of 1m 21.791s was 1.350s faster than Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes.

The two McLarens were next, with Lewis Hamilton shadowing Schumacher’s 1m 23.057s with 1m 23.068s and Jenson Button close on 1m 23.214s. Nico Rosberg completed the top six with 1m 23.397s for Mercedes.

Kamui Kobayashi went very well for Sauber with 1m 23.669s ahead of Vitaly Petrov on 1m 24.043s for Renault. They had a tough morning, however, as Nick Heidfeld’s R31 caught fire out on the track halfway through the session and stopped in flames at Turn 10. They were quickly extinguished, but the conflagration won’t have helped with those who are opposed to blown diffusers. The German ended up 23rd, on 1m 29.200s.

Ferrari had to drop their latest rear wing after it was deemed illegal last night, and Fernando Alonso took ninth place with 1m 24.270s, ahead of Williams’ Rubens Barrichello in 1m 24.318s, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa on 1m 24.322s, Sauber’s Sergio Perez on 1m 24.329s, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado on 1m 24.399s, Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi on 1m 24.535s, Force India’s Adrian Sutil on 1m 24.695s and Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari on 1m 24.722s.

Paul di Resta was 17th on 1m 25.223s in the second Force India, then Heikki Kovalainen was again in the 1m 26s with 1m 26.236s for Lotus ahead of team mate Jarno Trulli on 1m 27.000s. Timo Glock was Virgin’s pacesetter with 1m 27.706s, then came Tonio Liuzzi in the lead HRT in 1m 28.330s, Jerome D’Ambrosio in the second Virgin on 1m 29.057s, Heidfeld, and Narain Karthikeyan on 1m 29.562s for HRT.

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