Mark Webber has toppled McLaren’s dominance of the practice sessions at the Chinese Grand Prix by setting the fastest time in the third and final practice session before qualifying this afternoon.

Webber’s time of 1:35.323 was in fact slightly slower that the best time set by Lewis Hamilton in yesterday’s second practice session.

McLaren and Red Bull fans would have been pleased to see their respective drivers heading the timesheets for much of this morning 60-minute session, typically used to perform qualifying simulation runs.

FP3 - Mark Webber

There were few incidents in the session, with the exception of Vitaly Petrov’s crash at the end of the main straight: his Renault running wide onto the Astroturf and sliding into the barriers, causing heavy damage to the front end of his R30. The session was red-flagged for 7 minutes while the debris was cleared.

After his session-ending shunt in the first practice session that caused his entire absence from the second practice session, Sébastien Buemi would have been pleased to complete 18 trouble-free laps this session and rank 13th-quickest overall.

Another pleasing showing – from the bottom of the timesheets, this time – was that of Hispania Racing, which has shown a significant improvement in pace this weekend. The faster of the drivers – Bruno Senna – lapped just outside of 0.5s of the next-quickest driver, Jarno Trulli.

With Red Bull now joining McLaren and Mercedes GP at the pointy end of the timesheets – and Ferrari still yet to show their true pace, it seems – this afternoon’s qualifying session will be a fascinating affair.

2010 Chinese GP Practice 2 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Mark Webber AU Red Bull Renault 1:35.323 16
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.241 12
3. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault + 0.368 14
4. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.424 14
5. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 0.534 13
6. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 0.590 12
7. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 0.939 10
8. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 1.020 16
9. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 1.093 11
10. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 1.311 16
11. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1.556 17
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA Force India Mercedes + 1.708 16
13. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1.869 18
14. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 1.917 18
15. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 2.016 13
16. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 2.262 13
17. Pedro de la Rosa ESP Sauber Ferrari + 2.341 19
18. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 2.461 14
19. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.256 15
20. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth + 4.293 17
21. Lucas di Grassi BRA Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.426 13
22. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Cosworth + 4.453 16
23. Bruno Senna BRA HRT Cosworth + 4.993 19
24. Karun Chandhok IND HRT Cosworth + 5.818 18

[Original image via AUTOSPORT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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