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Final practice - Heidfeld puts BMW Sauber on top at Spa 29 Aug 2009

Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 28 August 2009 World Championship leader Button seems to be off the pace this morning, along with team mate Barrichello Webber appears to be having some problems and losing running time Grosjean goes off-road again, on his way to 4th place in practice

It was an unusual final practice session at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday morning, with Adrian Sutil fastest for much of it for Force India, and Nick Heidfeld eventually going to the top of the timesheets for BMW Sauber. On a dry track Heidfeld lapped his hitherto unloved F1.09 in 1m 45.388s to knock Sutil’s 1m 45.677s off the top slot right at the end, and then Jarno Trulli got between them for Toyota with 1m 45.462s.

Timo Glock was also fast in the second TF109, setting fifth fastest time of 1m 45.908s right behind impressive Renault rookie Romain Grosjean, who pushed his R29 round in 1m 45.878s in the closing stages for fourth.

Robert Kubica’s sixth-fastest 1m 45.987s made it a good morning for BMW Sauber, and he was last runner under 1m 46s. Nico Rosberg brought sighs of relief to troubled Williams as he recorded 1m 46.040s in an FW31 that was all at sea on Friday, while Giancarlo Fisichella was eighth in the second Force India with 1m 46.114s.

Lewis Hamilton was another pacesetter for much of the session, and clearly has more to come than his eventual 1m 46.301s for McLaren. There was a glimmer of hope for Brawn, too, as Jenson Button lapped in 1m 46.406s for 10th just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in 1m 46.409s for Ferrari.

Then came Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso on 1m 46.417s, Heikki Kovalainen in the second McLaren on 1m 46.462s, Sebastian Vettel in the lead Red Bull on 1m 46.747s), Jaime Alguersuari on 1m 46.814s for Toro Rosso, Brawn's Rubens Barrichello on 1m 46.815s and Fernando Alonso on 1m 46.926s in the remaining Renault.

At the back, Luca Badoer in 18th was at least respectably close to Ferrari team mate Raikkonen with 1m 47.055s, just ahead of Kazuki Nakajima who was still struggling with his Williams on his way to 1m 47.078s. At Red Bull it’s supposed to be Vettel who conserves his lappery, but Mark Webber had mechanical problems which restricted him to only three laps, and left him without a time. He will have an engine change ahead of qualifying.

It was such an odd session that it is almost impossible to predict form for qualifying, though clearly some runners still have something in hand.