Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel extended his run of fastest laps, finishing FP3 top of the timesheets.
Have gone fastest in both FP1 and FP2 on Friday, the World Champion extended his run with the fastest lap of Marina Bay in FP3 also – but the session was halted with two minutes left on the clock and faster times likely to follow. The red flags were brought out after Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov hit the wall approaching the final corner, scattering debris across the circuit.
Petrov’s was the most spectacular incident but the Russian was by no means the only man to tag the barriers during a session where the rising grip level was increasing driver confidence. Sergio Pérez hit the wall under the Bay Grandstand in the first 15 minutes and Mark Webber bounced off the same spot towards the end of the hour – both drivers were able to recover to the pits with only minor damage. Elsewhere Timo Glock abandoned his Marussia after taking to the escape road. He reported a stuck throttle to his pitwall.
At the start of the session Nico Hülkenberg briefly led for Force India, before being supplanted by Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren. Fernando Alonso was in the mix too but Vettel took top spot at the half hour mark. The early running was all on the soft tyre. Bruno Senna was the first man to try the supersofts and improved from P8 to P2, though his Williams soon knocked back as others switched to the red-banded tyres. Vettel broke into the 1:47s to hold onto P1. There was time for that to be challenged at the end but Petrov’s crash ended proceedings slightly prematurely.
Vettel’s time of 1:47.947 was three-tenths faster than Hamilton could manage. Fernando Alonso was third for Ferrari, ahead of Nico Hülkenberg’s Force India and Kimi Räikkönen of Lotus. Felipe Massa was sixth in the second Ferrari ahead of Paul di Resta in the second Force India. Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was eighth, Senna eventually ninth and Michael Schumacher rounded-out the top ten in the other Mercedes.
After his collision Webber was 11th, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button. Daniel Ricciardo was 13th for Toro Rosso, Kamui Kobayashi behind him. Then came Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), Sergio Pérez – who’s Sauber was repaired in time for him to go out again – Charles Pic (Marussia), Petrov, Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham), Narain Karthikeyan (HRT), Glock and finally Pedro De La Rosa – for all the HRT driver’s experience, this is his first Singapore Grand Prix.