Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel made the best of the dusty Jaypee International Circuit to go quickest in final practice on Saturday morning.
A late qualifying simulation took the Champion to the top of the standings with a best of 1:24.824; over three-tenths ahead of Jenson Button (McLaren), Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (McLaren).
The foursome swapped the top positions several times in the final few minutes, as they lay claim to their qualifying pace, but once again Vettel trumped the field.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa assumed 5th and 6th, albeit one second down on Red Bull’s regular fast man.
The Italian team changed their front wing specification in the latter part of the session, due to the alternate version rubbing violently off the ground as it shook under the forces.
Force India showed pace in front of their “home” crowd, coming home 7th (Paul di Resta) and 9th (Adrian Sutil).
The Anglo-Indian squad squeezed Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes machine, with Sutil one-tenth shy of Rosberg after meeting traffic on his quickest tour.
Like the opening pair of sessions, there were offs galore, topped by two dramatic spins – first by HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan, although this was later bettered by Bruno Senna’s high-speed trip through the turn eleven run-off.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.824s 18 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.191s + 0.367s 15 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.203s + 0.379s 19 4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.288s + 0.464s 16 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.784s + 0.960s 17 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.058s + 1.234s 16 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.785s + 1.961s 19 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.873s + 2.049s 22 9. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m26.958s + 2.134s 19 10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.146s + 2.322s 20 11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m27.217s + 2.393s 21 12. Bruno Senna Renault 1m27.235s + 2.411s 20 13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.262s + 2.438s 19 14. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m27.280s + 2.456s 18 15. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.387s + 2.563s 20 16. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.749s + 2.925s 21 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m27.793s + 2.969s 17 18. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m27.875s + 3.051s 20 19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m29.355s + 4.531s 21 20. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m29.750s + 4.926s 19 21. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m30.683s + 5.859s 23 22. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m30.900s + 6.076s 25 23. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m32.851s + 8.027s 19 24. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m33.246s + 8.422s 16