Robert Kubica set the quickest time right at the end of final practice ahead of this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, in wet conditions at Interlagos.
The hour-long session started on a sodden track, with all the drivers beginning on the extreme wet tire. Nico Hulkenberg was the first to take the intermediate as the worst of the rain was washed off the surface. He set a 1m20.5, while Williams teammate Rubens Barrichello was on track at the same time on the full wet and was in the 1m22s.
That was the trigger for everyone to switch to intermediates, and the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso initially had the edge over Lewis Hamilton's McLaren.
Mark Webber did his best lap of that segment earlier, on a wetter track, and was half a second slower, while Sebastian Vettel waited until later and went two tenths quicker than the Ferraris to the top of the time sheet.
The track was pretty quiet in the last half hour as most drivers elected to save their new sets of intermediates for qualifying this afternoon – for which more rain is forecast. But several ventured out for a qualifying simulation run in the last five minutes, during which Kubica went three tenths quicker than Vettel on a 1m19.1s. Hamilton also improved late on, jumping both Ferraris and ending the session just 0.036sec slower than Vettel in third.
Massa and Alonso finished up fourth and fifth, with the top 10 completed by Vitaly Petrov, Sebastien Buemi - who looked confident in the tricky conditions, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button – still not happy with the handling of his McLaren – and Barrichello.
The Red Bull drivers' strategies differed at the end, with Webber getting out of his car and watching the last 20 minutes of the session from the sidelines, while Vettel headed back out for one more lap at the end. Vettel failed to improve anyway, but Webber slid down to 11th completing just six laps during the hour.
Jarno Trulli was once again the quickest of the new teams for Lotus, though Timo Glock was just a tenth slower for Virgin, while Bruno Senna pipped Christian Klien to 23rd spot.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Kubica Renault 1:19.191 16
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:19.500 + 0.309 16
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.536 + 0.345 18
4. Massa Ferrari 1:19.735 + 0.544 9
5. Alonso Ferrari 1:19.791 + 0.600 9
6. Petrov Renault 1:19.887 + 0.696 22
7. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.009 + 0.818 24
8. Rosberg Mercedes 1:20.056 + 0.865 13
9. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.164 + 0.973 24
10. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:20.320 + 1.129 13
11. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:20.337 + 1.146 6
12. Schumacher Mercedes 1:20.421 + 1.230 18
13. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:20.452 + 1.261 21
14. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:20.535 + 1.344 12
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.541 + 1.350 26
16. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:20.546 + 1.355 19
17. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:20.613 + 1.422 19
18. Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1:20.985 + 1.794 25
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:22.326 + 3.135 17
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:22.449 + 3.258 26
21. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:22.874 + 3.683 20
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:23.194 + 4.003 21
23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:23.358 + 4.167 20
24. Klien HRT-Cosworth 1:23.650 + 4.459 19
All Timing Unofficial