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While Lewis Hamilton led the way in both of yesterday's sessions, it was Sebastian Vettel who had the edge in this morning's final dress rehearsal. That said, with 0.885s covering the first fifteen it was pretty much like the opening six races, tight and unpredictable.
Breathing down Vettel's neck this morning was championship leader Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard giving further weight to Hamilton's claim that Ferrari is the real dark (prancing) horse here this weekend.
It was a difficult final session for Rosberg and Vergne, the German suffering a technical problem (fuel connector) and the Frenchman going into the barriers at Turn 2 after taking to the (damp) grass. As a result, neither posted a time.
With qualifying, much like the races, being something of a lottery this season, it's interesting to note - whatever happens this afternoon - that fans are not happy with this year's trend of drivers not running in Q3 in an attempt to save tyres for the race. The results of our recent survey - published less than an hour before this session - reveal that an overwhelming 87% of fans who took part want to see drivers battling for pole.
Tyre options this weekend are the same as in Monaco - soft and supersoft - though strategy should be somewhat different, Pirelli expecting at least two stops tomorrow afternoon.
Air temperature is 24 degrees C while the track temperature is 42 degrees, significantly warmer than yesterday. It is bright and sunny.
The lights go green but there is no apparent desire to get to work. A Minute or so later a lone engine fires up, moments later Rosberg heads out of his garage to get proceedings underway. He is followed by Raikkonen, Grosjean, di Resta and Perez and Vergne.
As Rosberg begins the first flying lap of the afternoon there are 19 drivers on track, all but the Red Bulls, HRTs and Petrov. The Mercedes driver crosses the line a 1:18.763.
Kobayashi runs wide and across the grass leaving detritus on the track when he rejoins.
Hamilton goes quickest with a 16.232, ahead of Button, di Resta, Ricciardo and Raikkonen. However, moments later Perez posts a 16.131.
As Alonso goes quickest in the first two sectors, Massa gets it all wrong running what would have been a good lap. Alonso goes quickest overall with a 15.121, taking the tops spot from Hulkenberg (15.803). All times posted on prime tyres thus far.
Improvements see Hamilton go second, ahead of Massa and Schumacher as Petrov takes to the track on options.
A 15.106 sees Hulkenberg re-take the top spot as Glock, Pic, Karthikeyan and de la Rosa also switch to the softer rubber.
Alonso posts 14.916, still some way off the pace we saw in Q1 here last year.
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