Title rivals catching up with Sebastian Vettel after final Italian Grand Prix practice

 

Sebastian Vettel retained his advantage in practice for the Italian Grand Prix but his rivals were at least a little closer after the final session.

Reigning triple world champion Vettel was out on his own on Friday, with his nearest challenger over six tenths of a second adrift around the high-speed citadel that is Monza.

Vettel managed to shave another tenth of a second off his quickest lap from Friday in the closing hour-long run, clocking a time of one minute and 24.360 seconds in his Red Bull.

With Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo looking on from the pit wall, Fernando Alonso stepped up to challenge Vettel, finishing just under three tenths of a second down, so halving Vettel's advantage.

Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber was 0.317secs adrift, with Lewis Hamilton recovering from seemingly another difficult Friday to finish 0.352secs down for Mercedes.

Hamilton and Vettel have locked out the last three front rows, with the former on pole at the last four grands prix and doing enough to suggest he is in the hunt to make it five in a row.

McLaren continue to show considerable improvement at this race, with Sergio Perez and Jenson Button fifth and eighth on the timesheet, the latter three quarters of a second off Vettel's pace.

Sandwiched in between were Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo - confirmed this week as joining Vettel from next season - and the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa.

Williams' Pastor Maldonado and Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus completed the top 10, with the Finn 0.760secs down, a position he cannot afford to repeat in qualifying if he is to close the 63-point gap to Vettel.

Paul Di Resta's mechanics, meanwhile, faced a race against time to turn around the Scot's Force India for qualifying after he plunged nose first into a tyre wall at Parabolica.

Attempting to turn into the fast right-hander just over half an hour into the session, Di Resta instead found himself running straight on across a gravel trap before his momentum was halted by the barrier.

Following the shunt, Di Resta radioed back to the team suggesting a fault with the car as he said: "Something broke there!"

In what proved to be a worrying few minutes for Force India, Adrian Sutil spun through the Ascari chicane shortly after, with the end result being the German down in 16th and Di Resta 17th.

Max Chilton was 21st, a fraction of a second behind Marussia team-mate Jules Bianchi, with Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes bringing up the rear.

The German sustained a hydraulic issue that restricted him to just five laps.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
science
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links