Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button claimed a McLaren 1-2 in the final practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
With the field concentrating on qualifying stints as the session aged, the silver cars took advantage of some the grip offered to them in the middle sector to edge a four-tenths gap over the Mercedes pairing Nico Rosberg (3rd) and Michael Schumacher (4th)
Red Bull decided to drop their latest rear wing development for Saturday. It did not appear to hurt Mark Webber, who claimed 5th, although a less happy Sebastian Vettel could manage only 9th, some three-tenths off his teammate’s pace.
Pastor Maldonado once again showed the Williams FW34 has some significant single-lap pace, with the 6th best placing, ahead of the Sauber duo led by Sergio Perez (7th). Lotus returnee Kimi Raikkonen closed out the top ten.
A mere 1.4 seconds covered 3rd to 18th, although it is unlikely Ferrari will be pleased that it is Felipe Massa who claims the last spot in the midfield pack. As per usual, the bottom six consisted of the three “new-ish” teams, all of whom still appear some way off the pack; however HRT will be happy to note that they sit well inside the 107% rule.
2012 Chinese Grand Prix (Rd 3, Free Practice 3) Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.940s 13 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.093s + 0.123 12 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.389s + 0.449 16 4. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m36.512s + 0.572 17 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.635s + 0.695 16 6. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m36.765s + 0.825 17 7. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.781s + 0.841 19 8. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.880s + 0.940 17 9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.039s + 1.099 15 10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m37.061s + 1.121 17 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m37.237s + 1.297 16 12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.274s + 1.334 19 13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m37.288s + 1.348 16 14. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m37.425s + 1.485 14 15. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.465s + 1.525 12 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.493s + 1.553 13 17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.628s + 1.688 14 18. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.831s + 1.891 14 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m38.701s + 2.761 19 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m39.198s + 3.258 19 21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.796s + 3.856 18 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.048s + 4.108 17 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m41.263s + 5.323 14 24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m41.499s + 5.559 18 ^Notes compiled from team releases and live updates.