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Final practice - Hamilton heads McLaren one-two 14 Apr 2012

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Practice, Shanghai, China, Friday, 13 April 2012 Sebastian Vettel is running Red Bull's older-spec exhaust system as Practice 3 gets underway on a cloudy but warmer day in Shanghai Fernando Alonso talks tactics with his race engineer Andrea Stella as Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa gets ready for action Paul di Resta's helmet camera shows a heart-stopping moment at the end of FP3, as he misses the corner in the Force India and the run-off area comes to his rescue

McLaren returned to the top of the timesheets in Saturday morning’s final practice session for the 2012 Formula 1 UBS Chinese Grand prix. Jenson Button moved ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher in the closing stages, before team mate Lewis Hamilton pushed in front right at the end.

The times were close, however. Hamilton was the only runner beneath 1m 36s with 1m 35.940s, with Button next on 1m 36.063s, Rosberg on 1m 36.389s and Schumacher on 1m 36.512s.

While it was a good session for both teams, it appeared less so for Red Bull. Mark Webber was fifth on 1m 36.635s, but Sebastien Vettel was only ninth on 1m 37.039s. They were separated by Pastor Maldonado who recorded 1m 36.765s for Williams, and Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi with 1m 36.781s and 1m 36.880s respectively for Sauber.

Lotus picked up some pace, but were still further back than might have been expected. Kimi Raikkonen was 10th in his E20 with 1m 37.061s, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 37.237s for Force India, Romain Grosjean in the second Lotus on 1m 37.274s and Paul di Resta in the other Force India on 1m 37.288s. What had appeared to be a better lap for the Scot was spoiled when he ran off the road on the entry to Turn 14 right at the end.

Bruno Senna was 14th in the second Williams on 1m 37.425s, and then came Fernando Alonso in the first of the troubled Ferraris on 1m 37.465s. Felipe Massa was 18th on 1m 37.851s, and was separated from his team partner by the Toro Rossos of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 37.493s and 1m 37.628s respectively.

Vitaly Petrov shaded team mate Heikki Kovalainen at Caterham, 1m 38.701s to 1m 39.198s, while Timo Glock got close to the green and yellow cars with 1m 39.796s in his Marussia. His team mate Charles Pic was 22nd on 1m 40.048s, while Narain Karthikeyan beat HRT partner Pedro de la Rosa right at the end, 1m 41.263s to 1m 41.499s.

The only significant incident, apart from di Resta’s, came when Perez ran off the road in Turn 2.

The scene is now set for a very tight qualifying session, with the odds appearing once again to favour McLaren.

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