Formula 1 News

Button on top for McLaren in final practice

McLaren keeps dominating with Red Bull very close. Vettel and Webber second and third best respectively; Alonso eight.
Saturday, November 24, 2012

SAO PAULO, Nov 24, 2012 (AFP) - Jenson Button kept McLaren on top of the time-sheets when he clocked the fastest lap in Saturday morning's third and final free practice session ahead of this weekend's title showdown Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 32-year-old Briton took over from team-mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton, who had topped the times in both sessions on Friday as hot and humid weather replaced the blue skies and McLaren continued to upstage the championship protagonists.

Defending champion Germany's Sebastian Vettel, who needs to finish fourth or better to be certain of becoming the youngest triple champion in Formula One hitory, was second fastest ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Australian Mark Webber. 

Button's McLaren team-mate Hamilton was fourth fastest in a closely-fought session that saw the top four drivers separated by only two-tenths of a second.

Vettel's only remaining title rival, two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, was eighth-fastest for Ferrari and his team-mate and local hero Brazilian Felipe Massa was down in 10th.

Button clocked his fastest lap of one minute and 13.188 seconds in the closing seconds of the session after earlier topping the times with a quick lap in the 18th minute of the hour's high-temp action.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus was fifth ahead of Briton Paul Di Resta and his Force India team-mate German Nico Hulkenberg. Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado was ninth for Williams.

The session was run in sultry heat with a track temperature of 36 degrees Celsius and an air tepmperature of 28 degrees. 

Finn Kimi Raikkonen, winner of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this year, was forced to retire from the fray after only 14 minutes when the Renault engine in his Lotus car failed.

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren 1:13.188   22
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:13.245 0.057 21
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1:13.385 0.197 25
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:13.389 0.201 17
5 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:13.420 0.232 24
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India 1:13.486 0.298 21
7 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:13.602 0.414 22
8 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:13.691 0.503 15
9 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:13.700 0.512 20
10 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:13.712 0.524 17
11 19 Bruno Senna Williams 1:13.948 0.760 20
12 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:14.126 0.938 25
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:14.190 1.002 26
14 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:14.192 1.004 21
15 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:14.347 1.159 24
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:14.687 1.499 21
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:14.972 1.784 19
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:15.159 1.971 22
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:15.707 2.519 21
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia 1:15.763 2.575 24
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia 1:16.059 2.871 21
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:16.198 3.010 15
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:16.793 3.605 18
24 9 Kimi RŠikkšnen Lotus No time   3

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4 Ferrari 214
5 McLaren 187
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