Final practice - Kubica fastest on drying Fuji Speedway 11 Oct 2008
BMW Saubers Robert Kubica leapt to the top of the timesheets after a wet final practice session in Fuji on Saturday morning, as a drying track saw a rash of late improvements.
Jenson Button and Timo Glock initially set the pace in a Japanese team battle between Honda and Toyota. Toro Rossos Sebastian Vettel and McLarens Heikki Kovalainen also had a turn at the top until the latters team mate, Lewis Hamilton, took control with a best lap of 1m 25.901s just before the halfway point.
The Englishman then stopped running, as conditions only improved marginally. Later it began to dry out sufficiently for other drivers to venture out on standard-wet rather than extreme-wet Bridgestone tyres, but it was still a while before Ferraris Felipe Massa posted 1m 25.709s to go quickest.
In the closing minutes, as Hamilton and then Massa continued to sit it out in the garages, Kubica pushed ahead with 1m 25.697s before Renaults Nelson Piquet deposed him with 1m 25.580s. Then David Coulthard jumped up to second for red Bull, before Kubica pushed ahead again with 1m 25.087s which proved sufficient.
Behind the BMW Sauber driver, team mate Nick Heidfeld jumped momentarily to second with 1m 25.474s before first Glock (1m 25.171s) and then Piquet (1m 25.415s) reasserted themselves.
Behind the leading quartet, local hero Kazuki Nakajima pleased his fans with fifth fastest time of 1m 25.563s for Williams, then came Coulthard (1m 25.614s), Massa (1m 25.709s), Red Bulls Mark Webber (1m 25.785s), Renaults Fernando Alonso (1m 25.799s), Vettel (1m 25.880s), Hamilton (1m 25.901s), Toro Rossos Sebastien Bourdais (1m 25.984s) Toyotas Jarno Trulli (1m 26.013s), Williams Nico Rosberg (1m 26.213s), Kovalainen (1m 26.239s), Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen (1m 26.277s), Hondas Rubens Barrichello (1m 26.662s), Button (1m 26.922s), and the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil (1m 27.357s) and Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 27.918s).
Plenty of drivers - Vettel, Piquet, Bourdais, Rosberg and Nakajima - went straight on in Turn One during the course of the hour-long session, while Trulli, Raikkonen and Alonso all spun.
It is expected to be dry for qualifying.