Jenson Button has staked his claim for pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix

Jenson Button has ensured that McLaren has taken top honours in every practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix by finishing fastest overall in an entertaining final practice session at Interlagos.

Once again, McLaren and Red Bull Racing claimed the top-four spots on the timesheets as the expected rain held off for the entire one-hour session. That being said, wet weather is almost certainly expected to have some impact in the afternoon’s qualifying session.

Conditions were considerably cooler when compared with those experienced on Friday, and Button used his higher-downforce set-up to hustle his McLaren through Interlagos’ twisty infield en route to the fastest time of the session, a 1:13.188.

It was wnough to edge Sebastian Vettel out of top spot by less than a tenth of a second, while the sisters cars of Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton were third and fourth, mere fractions slower than their respective team-mates.

Romain Grosjean claimed ‘best of the rest’ honours with the fifth-fastest time in his Lotus, and he was hotly pursued by the Force Indias of Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, both of whom have shown good pace all weekend.

Grosjean’s team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, had a completely wasted session. The Finn’s Renault engine expired after just three laps of the circuit, and he was forced to watch the rest of proceedings from the comfort of a trackside marshal’s plastic chair.

Vettel’s main championship challenger, Fernando Alonso, would be disappointed to be only eighth-fastest in the session. The Spaniard ran a higher-downforce set-up on his Ferrari, but all the cards are suggesting that he doesn’t have the raw pace to stop Vettel – 13 points ahead in the standings – from claiming a third successive championship title on Sunday.

There is, however, the matter of this afternoon’s qualifying session to contend with. And if the thunderstorms arrive as anticipated, then this could be just the influence that Alonso needs to get back into the hunt.


2012 Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:13.188   22
2. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:13.245 + 0.057 21
3. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:13.385 + 0.197 25
4. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:13.389 + 0.201 17
5. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E20 1:13.420 + 0.232 24
6. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM05 1:13.486 + 0.298 21
7. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Force India Mercedes VJM05 1:13.602 + 0.414 22
8. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:13.691 + 0.503 15
9. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW34 1:13.700 + 0.512 20
10. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:13.712 + 0.524 17
11. Bruno Senna BRA Williams Renault FW34 1:13.948 + 0.760 20
12. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 1:14.126 + 0.938 25
13. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C31 1:14.190 + 1.002 26
14. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C31 1:14.192 + 1.004 21
15. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 1:14.347 + 1.159 24
16. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:14.687 + 1.499 21
17. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:14.972 + 1.784 19
18. Vitaly Petrov RUS Caterham Renault CT01 1:15.159 + 1.971 22
19. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Caterham Renault CT01 1:15.707 + 2.519 21
20. Timo Glock DEU Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 1:15.763 + 2.575 24
21. Charles Pic FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 1:16.059 + 2.871 21
22. Pedro de la Rosa ESP HRTF1 Cosworth F112 1:16.198 + 3.010 15
23. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRTF1 Cosworth F112 1:16.793 + 3.605 18
24. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E20 no time   3

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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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