In a hot and very humid practice session in Sepang on Saturday afternoon, Sebastian Vettel showed that while the Red Bull team might struggle to keep up the pace over a series of laps, the cars certainly have one-lap pace. The World Champion ended the third session a tenth faster than Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, which was itself only a fraction faster than the Force India of Adrian Sutil and Mark Webber’s Red Bull.
Kimi Raikkonen was in the hunt as one would expect and there were 11 drivers covered by a second at the top of the time sheets. Behind the Lotus was Paul di Resta in the second Force India, Jenson Button in a better-looking McLaren, Felipe Massa’s Ferrari and Nico Rosberg in the second Merc. Fernando Alonso was 10th with Pastor Maldonado looking promising in 11th. Then came Sergio Perez’s McLaren, the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean’s Lotus, which had had traffic troubles, the second Williams driven by Valtteri Bottas and the second Sauber in the hands of Esteban Gutierrez. Then came the Toro Rossos of Jean-Eric Vergne and Dan Ricciardo and then the scarpping gang at the back, headed in this session by Charles Pic’s Caterham. Then came Jules Bianchi’s Marussia, Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham and the Marussia of Max Chilton.