Final practice - still too close to call in Shanghai 06 Oct 2007
Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen and McLarens Fernando Alonso continued to be separated by a miniscule amount - 0.026s - after the final practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix this morning, with Lewis Hamilton 0.127s off the Finn and Felipe Massa 0.305s.
The fast four continued to dominate proceedings, Raikkonen lapping in 1m 36.100s to displace Alonso, whose best was 1m 36.126s. Hamilton improved in relative terms as he gained more experience of the circuit, to 1m 36.227s, while Massa posted 1m 36.405s.
Ralf Schumacher and Toyota were fast all session, the German breaking into the 1m 36s bracket with 1m 36.959s for fifth, chased hard by Red Bulls David Coulthard on 1m 36.964s.
BMW Sauber had a more reliable morning after their Friday problems, with Robert Kubica seventh on 1n 37.024s and Nick Heidfeld ninth on 1m 37.176s, the pair sandwiching Heikki Kovalainens Renault. The Finn lapped in 1m 37.106s.
Mark Webber completed the top 10 for Red Bull with 1m 37.315s, but behind him the times were incredibly close. Six-tenths of a second covered the next nine runners: Nico Rosberg (1m 37.323s), Tonio Liuzzi (1m 37.463s), Jenson Button (1m 37.564s), Jarno Trulli (1m 37.679s), Anthony Davidson (1m 37.732s), Sebastian Vettel (1m 37.759s), Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 37.791s), Rubens Barrichello (1m 37.920s) and Alex Wurz (1m 37.926s).
At the back, Takuma Sato lapped his Super Aguri in 1m 38.577s, just ahead of Adrian Sutils Spyker (1m 38.868s). Sakon Yamamoto was 22nd and last in the second Spyker, on 1m 39.517s.
So thats the scene thus far, amid signs that it is harder to get a quick time out of the softer tyre than the harder, but there may be surprises in qualifying. The forecast for tomorrow is for a 90 per cent chance of rain, so some of the final top 10 runners may elect to go to qualifying with a greater fuel load and surrender grid position for the chance of running longer opening stints.