Brazilian GP - Saturday - Practice Session 3 Report

Tense Interlagos pole battle in prospect

Jenson Button, Brazilian GP 2012

Jenson Button, Brazilian GP 2012 

 © Active Pictures

With the first six cars covered by three tenths of a second in the final session of free practice for the Brazilian GP, the battle for the Interlagos pole looks like being hard-fought.

Jenson Button (1:13.188) produced the fastest lap of the weekend so far in the McLaren, ahead of championship-chasing Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull (1:13.245). Having tried a low downforce set-up yesterday with more of an eye on 2013 development, Button's car was back in a similar high downforce spec to team mate Hamilton's in FP3.

Third quickest was Mark Webber (1:13.385) in the second Red Bull, just four thousandths ahead of Hamilton, who was himself just 0.04 clear of Romain Grosjean's Lotus. The Frenchman's team mate, Kimi Raikkonen got just three laps before stopping on the circuit with an engine problem.

Interlagos is partially about horsepower and so it was perhaps no surprise to witness the Mercedes-powered Force Indias of Paul Di Resta (1:13.486) and Nico Hulkenberg (1:13.602) in sixth and seventh places, marginally quicker than Fernando Alonso's Ferrari (1:13.691).

Pastor Maldonado got his Williams around in 1:13.700, split from team mate Bruno Senna (1:13.948) by home hero Felipe Massa (1:13.712) with the second Ferrari.

With heavy rain forecast for Sunday, however, today's grid could well be representative of not very much...

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