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Final practice - Webber leads Red Bull resurgence 28 Aug 2010

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 27 August 2010 The Virgin team radio Glock to tell him about the expected rain Vettel runs into mechanical problems and has to be pushed back down the pitlane The Red Bulls and McLarens dominate final practice, with Button coming in fourth

It was too good to be true. The lack of rain, that is. For the better part of 45 minutes the track at Spa-Francorchamps was dry during this morning’s final practice. Then the rain fell, freezing the times as they stood with three-quarters of the session run.

It had been intriguing up to that point, as McLaren's Lewis Hamilton split the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, with team mate Jenson Button chasing all three ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica and the Ferraris.

Webber’s 1m 46.106s set the pace, but Hamilton was close on 1m 46.223s and Vettel’s 1m 46.396s just shaded Button’s 1m 46.397s. The German, however, stuttered to a halt as he came into the pits, with a suspected hydraulics problem, just before the rain came.

Kubica was happy with his Renault and with 1m 46.492s, then Fernando Alonso just headed Felipe Massa, 1m 46.627s to 1m 46.962s.

Adrian Sutil, still in the only Force India working properly with its latest updates, was eighth on 1m 47.064s, as team mate Tonio Liuzzi struggled with straight-line speed and aero problems on his way to 1m 48.692s, 1.6s adrift down in 18th.

Nico Hulkenberg was this day’s star for Williams with ninth, in 1m 47.160s, then came the BMW Saubers of Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa on 1m 47.296s and 1m 47.388s. Vitaly Petrov was 12th in the second Renault with 1m 47.406s, ahead of Williams' Rubens Barrichello on 1m 47.512s, then Michael Schumacher on 1m 47.695s and Nico Rosberg on 1m 47.837s as Mercedes continued to struggle, and the Toro Rossos of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari on 1m 47.905s and 1m 47.981s.

Behind Liuzzi, Jarno Trulli headed the new teams with 1m 50.600s for Lotus, but Bruno Senna put his HRT second on 1m 51.133s ahead of Heikki Kovalainen in the second green and yellow car on 1m 51.384s, and the Virgins of Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock on 1m 51.517s and 1m 51.669s. Sakon Yamamoto was last for HRT on 1m 52.001s.

The resurgence of Red Bull, and the continued threat from McLaren, poses interesting questions for qualifying, which the teams expect to be run in wet conditions. Don’t discount Ferrari or Renault, either, in the battle for the leading positions.