Sebastian Vettel edged out Jenson Button to set the fastest time in the final free practice session ahead of Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying at Interlagos. Their respective Red Bull and McLaren teammates Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton were third and fourth.
As had been the case on Friday, most of the session was a Red Bull versus McLaren battle at the front. Hamilton was the first of the big hitters to post a quick time with a 1m13.988s after 17 minutes. Things moved fast in the next five minutes as everyone got fully up to speed, with Vettel hitting the front very briefly, being beaten by Button, then returning to the top with a 1m13.166s.
That kept Vettel at the head of the order for 20 minutes before his teammate Webber edged ahead with the last of the quick times on harder tyres, and then Force India's Adrian Sutil made a surprise appearance in first place with a 1m13.113s on softs.
The German enjoyed six minutes in the spotlight prior to the bigger teams bolting on soft tires, too, with first Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), then Hamilton going to the front before Vettel blasted in consecutive laps in 1m12.508s and 1m12.460s – both faster than anyone else would manage. Button ended up 0.087sec shy in second, followed by Webber, Hamilton and Alonso.
Sutil's lap kept him up in sixth place, ahead of the two Mercedes, the sister Force India of Paul di Resta and Ferrari's Felipe Massa. The Brazilian had a complicated end to the session with near-misses with Timo Glock's Virgin on track and Schumacher in the pit exit.
Further back, Bruno Senna lost some track time to engine issues on his Renault, and Sebastien Buemi did not get chance to set a time due to a hydraulic leak on his Toro Rosso.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m12.460s 21
2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m12.547s + 0.087s 19
3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m12.597s + 0.137s 21
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m12.622s + 0.162s 15
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m12.765s + 0.305s 17
6. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m13.113s + 0.653s 22
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m13.286s + 0.826s 21
8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m13.393s + 0.933s 19
9. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m13.419s + 0.959s 19
10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m13.583s + 1.123s 18
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m13.838s + 1.378s 20
12. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m14.283s + 1.823s 19
13. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m14.286s + 1.826s 20
14. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.311s + 1.851s 24
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m14.454s + 1.994s 22
16. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.547s + 2.087s 24
17. Bruno Senna Renault 1m14.551s + 2.091s 15
18. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m15.843s + 3.383s 24
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m16.026s + 3.566s 22
20. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m16.616s + 4.156s 26
21. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m17.143s + 4.683s 23
22. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m17.296s + 4.836s 23
23. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m17.984s + 5.524s 23
24. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 3
All timing unofficial