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:
[Original images via AUTOSPORT]