Lewis Hamilton has set himself up as a possible pole position contender in the final practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix, by topping the timesheets at the Saturday Practice - Lewis HamiltonCircuit de Gilles Villeneuve.

Heading into what will be a fascinating and closely-fought qualifying session, the top-four places on the timesheets were occupied by drivers from different teams. F1 fans could well be faced with the prospect of something other than a Red Bull occupying pole position for the first time this season.

Both McLarens were quickest for the majority of the 60-minute session, with the 2008 Champion holding onto the top spot for much of the reckoning and generally able to knock down his quickest team with each passing lap. A time of 1:16.259 came on the harder compound Bridgestone tyres.

Even equipped with soft rubber, no other runner was able to better that time, and almost as if to rub salt into the wound, Hamilton went quicker still when he switched to the softer rubber, with a time of 1:16.058. With fortunate seemingly shining on the Briton, he escaped the very next lap with a light brush against the wall.

No other runners were able to challenge Hamilton’s time in the closing minutes, when the yellow flags were unfurled after Lucas di Grassi threw his Virgin Racing car into the gravel trap at the hairpin.

Completing the top four positions were Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher, and Sebastian Vettel made it two Red Bulls in the top-five.

Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil showed promising form for Renault and Force India respectively, with featuring at the pointy end of the timesheets during the session. Their respective team-mates, Vitaly Petrov and Vitantonio Liuzzi, occupied the final positions of the top-ten places on the timing screens.

One driver to fall victim to di Grassi’s off-road incident was Jenson Button, who was only eighth-quickest overall.

Felipe Massa was another who didn’t feature as prominently as expected, finishing as the 12th-quickest driver and expressing concerns he may have damaged his Ferrari after a brush with the ever-close cement walls.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was another driver who should have featured at the sharp end of the timesheets, but he was grounded with the clutch issue for much of the session, and only ventured out in the closing minutes.

That is more than can be said for Karun Chandhok, with the Hispania Racing driver unable to complete a timed lap after his car ground to a halt with an hydraulics issue after a single installation lap.

2010 Canadian Grand Prix Practice 3 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes 1:16.058 15
2. Mark Webber AU Red Bull Renault + 0.282 16
3. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 0.437 19
4. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 0.478 15
5. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault + 0.524 16
6. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 0.595 18
7. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 0.615 15
8. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.641 16
9. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA Force India Mercedes + 0.756 15
10. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 0.924 18
11. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 1.063 16
12. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 1.173 16
13. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1.273 22
14. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 1.490 20
15. Pedro de la Rosa ESP Sauber Ferrari + 1.551 16
16. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1.575 21
17. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 1.731 18
18. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 1.921 4
19. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Cosworth + 2.955 15
20. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth + 3.389 16
21. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 3.478 22
22. Lucas di Grassi BRA Virgin Racing Cosworth + 3.786 20
23. Bruno Senna BRA HRT Cosworth + 4.267 18
24. Karun Chandhok IND HRT Cosworth no time 1

[Original images 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.