Final practice - Rosberg tops rain-shortened session 17 Oct 2009
Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima set the fastest times for Williams in a truncated final practice session on Saturday morning on an Interlagos circuit that had been turned into a skating rink after a thunderstorm.
The anticipated heavy rain arrived at 10.20, and the start of practice was delayed from 11.00 until 11.42, when the medical helicopter was finally able to take to the sky. The rain had backed off, but the track was still awash as car after car veered into a sudden spin. The session was finally stopped with five minutes left on the clock after Romain Grosjean lost control and smacked his Renault hard into a barrier. The Franco-Swiss driver was unharmed.
Rosberg lapped in 1m 23.182s, Nakajima 1m 23.832s, while Jenson Button boosted his confidence with a solid third place for Brawn on 1m 24.122s. Fernando Alonso had a long, wet grassy moment, but recovered to trim his times down to 1m 24.125s for Renault, chased by Adrian Sutil on 1m 24.149s in the Force India, Grosjean on 1m 24.389s, Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi on 1m 24.443s, Toyota's Jarno Trulli on 1m 24.859s and BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld on 1m 24.867s.
Much depended on when you ran, as conditions were improving a little as the brief session progressed, and some drivers clearly preferred to conserve their machinery in the hope that qualifying is run on a drier track.
Mark Webber was the leading Red Bull runner on 1m 25.440s, chased by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen (1m 25.508s), McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen (1m 25.685s), Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari (1m 26.224s), Brawn's Rubens Barrichello (1m 26.530s), Sebastian Vettel (1m 27.047s) in the second Red Bull, Force India's Tonio Liuzzi (1m 27.341s) and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton (1m 27.798s).
At the back, Giancarlo Fisichella was 18th for Ferrari on 1m 29.285s, ahead of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica on 1m 29.895s and Toyota's Kamui Kobayashi on 1m 30.259s.
Conditions are expected to improve further for qualifying, though it is still likely to be run on a wet track.