Spanish F1: Ferrari's Felipe Massa fastest in final practice

The 32-year-old Brazilian clocked his fastest lap of 1min 21.901sec in the final minutes of a closely-contested session run in dry, but gusty and cloudy conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Last updated on Saturday, 11 May, 2013 16:16 IST
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Felipe Massa topped the times for Ferrari in Saturday morning's final free practice session ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

The 32-year-old Brazilian clocked his fastest lap of 1min 21.901sec in the final minutes of a closely-contested session run in dry, but gusty and cloudy conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya.

In front of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who arrived to watch the session from his team's pit wall, Massa's lap lifted him 0.006sec clear of nearest rival Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus and ahead of third-placed Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull.

Raikkonen's Lotus team-mate Frenchman Romain Grosjean was fourth ahead of defending triple world champion German Sebastian Vettel and sixth-placed home hero and two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso in the second Ferrari.

The top six were separated by 0.353 seconds - a clear signal that there is little to choose between them in such changing conditions with the teams all running variable fuel loads.

Briton Paul di Resta, who survived a frightening moment on Friday when his left rear tyre delaminated at high speed, was seventh ahead of Force India team-mate German Adrian Sutil, Briton Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso.

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate German Nico Rosberg was 11th ahead of Briton Jenson Button, who continued to struggle in the under-pace McLaren, despite a raft of new parts on his car.

The top 11 were separated by less than a second in a session that gave little indication of true potential for Saturday afternoon's qualifying session.

"It looks very close," said Red Bull team chief Christian Horner. "But I must say Mark Webber loves it here and, for me, he is the king of the final sector.

"I am expecting a very strong performance from him, but Ferrari also look strong and Fernando Alonso is clearly responding to the crowd."

Story first published on: Saturday, 11 May 2013 16:11 IST

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