Yas Marina: Free Practice 3

I do have an actual reason as to why this is later than usual…a quick sprint up to London (really bad timing I know). Believe me; I’ve been clinging to my phone all day trying to find out what’s going on. But as a reward I took myself off to the Pole Position shop on Regent’s Street; so it wasn’t a whole day devoid of F1…accept it almost was. Get to Regent’s Street and lo and behold it’s covered by shockingly pink boarding; an omen for the day I think. So much for staving off the disappointment of missing FP3 and Qualifying!

Ended up in a certain Knightsbridge department store…but I only had two options in the ‘team sports’ section – McLaren or Ferrari, an attempt to ask for Red Bull Racing gear ended up with directions to liquid refreshment…doh! And to prove my dedication to you guys; tube maintenance and the Lord Mayor’s day resulted in a stomp through most of London to get back here at a reasonable time. Next year I think I’ll arrange my social life around the race calendar.

But all was not lost; amped up on the promise of watching F1 once I returned home; I needed something…music! And after a quick scroll (radio was a bust) I ended up with a long playlist of rock…worked a treat and I shaved some non-illegal time off my lap record…awesome! Getting into the groove; and I spot a sign warning me that there are ‘pedestrians on road – caution’, and considering this was the motorway I was a little perturbed. With no indication as to where these mysterious pedestrians were I opted to employ some safety car tactics. And before you scoff; who hasn’t had an imaginary Murray Walker commentate as they overtake the race leader with a genius bit of slip-streaming. No? Seriously? Liar…

Hamilton back in the game?:

Lewis Hamilton is determined to clinch the pole position today; after verbally throwing in the towel after the Brazilian GP, it seemed as if he had given up. But we see a renewed Hamilton here; the rear wing upgrade McLaren tried to fit in Japan has finally worked in Abu Dhabi. Good timing for McLaren; bad timing for the Red Bulls. If Hamilton gets in there he could hand the win to Alonso very easily; but reports coming from the Yas Marina circuit suggests he would like to see a Red Bull win.

So who knows? Does Lewis actually believe this or is this a perfectly executed bluff?

Heidfeld hightailing?:

Nick Heidfeld is in discussions with Renault for next year…what a move for this impressive driver. He’s shown what he can do at Sauber after replacing Pedro de la Rosa after Monza; aware that he needs to bring significant financial backing with him to secure a seat if he makes the move to Renault.

Read: Heidfeld in talks with Renault

Trouble in the land Down Under:

Talks are ongoing in Abu Dhabi over whether Australia will retain their GP next year. The bone of contention is the fees; the Aussie motorsport governing body charges £500,000 to organise the race; and the GP promoters want it lowered. This is going to rumble on for a while methinks…

Massa disappointed with season:

Filipe Massa was in an honest mood today about his the season he’s had. But is buoyant and looking forwards to being more competitive in the upcoming 2011 season; intending to step out from behind Alonso and stop being the definite number 2. And if you would like to see Massa match Alonso in the speed stakes; then may I suggest you watch the video below, absolutely hilarious. Especially when you see the differing levels of enjoyment between the two drivers.

Free Practice 3:

10:00: Trulli is the first out of the gate.

10:09: Hamilton is unhappy with vibration he’s feeling from his car; there’s a flat spot on his front right tire.

10:15: One time on the board for Di Grassi (1:48.532)

10:20: McLaren is a hive of intense conversation between team principal Martin Whitmarsh and Lewis Hamilton. Timo Glock (1:47,106), Jarno Trulli (1:47.132), Di Grassi (1:47.148)

10:25: Kubica’s in the lead with 1:43.186; Heidfeld follows up with a 1:43.493.

10:30: Schumacher has a 1:42.518 lap; looks like we’re going to have some pretty good lap times here now. Rosberg, however, is having trouble with his car.

10:35: Vettel makes his presence known with a 1:41.628. Rosberg is struggling now mroe and goes into second (1:42.009), then Alonso (1:42.291).

10:38: Hamilton goes into second now with 1:41.994. He’s picking up some serious pace here now; what would the championship be looking like if he was this competitive earlier on?

10:40: Vettel goes faster (1:41.252); Webber in second (1:41.621); Hamilton is third (1:41.669). Alonso is in 7th.

10:46: Alonso is out on the softer ‘option’ tire and goes into fourth (1:41.790).

10:50: Webber out again on a longer run (5 laps). Alonso travels up to second (1:41.490).

10:55: Button now in fourth (1:41.578). Webber retains second with a faster time (1:41.153).

11:00: That’s the end of the last ever practice of the 2010 season.

Free Practice 3 Results:

1. Sebastian Vettel – 1:40.696

2. Mark Webber – 1:40.829

3. Lewis Hamilton – 1:41.484

Read: Full Results

And it’s pretty easy to see from the top three here that Hamilton is definitely going to make his mark on this race; if they had sorted the upgrades out sooner, he would have been in a much stronger position. But the Red Bulls making a strong impression on this last practice; so it’s looking good for a Red Bull 1-2, no?

Later rookies!

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