Vettel on top ahead of qualifying
Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in final practice ahead of qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix as Red Bull appears to have inched ahead in the three-way battle with Ferrari and McLaren.
Vettel's best time of 1:21.168 was 0.301s faster than Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in second and 0.471s faster than Jenson Button's best lap in the McLaren. Friday's pace setter Lewis Hamilton could only manage seventh fastest after running wide at the first corner on both of his hot laps on the supersoft tyres. On his first run he reported that "the brakes didn't work" as he'd expected.
Mark Webber also failed to fulfil his potential in the Red Bull as he got stuck in traffic on his fast lap on supersofts and then simply didn't have the grip left in the tyres to improve on his second run. For the second day in a row Felipe Massa made a mistake on his first flying lap on the supersoft tyres, meaning his ultimate pace is still an unknown.
Nico Rosberg snuck into the top six for Mercedes but is not likely to do the same in qualifying unless the drivers at the top three teams continue to make mistakes. He was, however, 0.5s faster than team-mate Michael Schumacher, who was in turn 0.14s up on Vitaly Petrov's Renault in ninth. Paul di Resta in the Force India was again in the top ten with a time 2.1s off the front runners.
There were no major incidents during the hour long session, although a tail wind in to the turns six and seven chicane forced a few drivers to take to the escape road early on. But with track temperatures at 36C and rising, the teams can hardly complain about the conditions especially when compared to Germany a week ago.
At the back of the field the bottom four cars were all outside 107% of Vettel's best time, with Tonio Luizzi nearly a second adrift. However, they are still likely to qualify for the race as their target time in Q1, when they have to be within 107%, will most likely be set by one of the top drivers on the slower soft tyres. What's more concessions have increasingly been made in similar circumstances this year.