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Based on the evidence thus far, and paying particular attention to this morning's qualifying-spec runs, the only person likely to threaten Sebastian Vettel this weekend is his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, though a technical problem prevented him from completing a single lap on the softer rubber.
Second placed Lewis Hamilton was 0.527s off the German's pace, and Jenson Button 0.869, while the suggestion was that Vettel, who was also quickest on the prime rubber, has more in reserve.
It truth, the world champion is looking good for his third consecutive win of the season, and, barring the intervention of Romain Grosjean, likely to leave here tomorrow afternoon heading this season's title race for the first time since Bahrain.
Webber's software problem meant that the Australian didn't get to run in qualifying spec however, assuming it has been fixed we could be looking at another Suzuka-style front row lock-out.
While both McLarens are looking handy, the Ferraris are up there, as are the Lotus duo while Mercedes continues to lose ground to Force India.
The green and dusty track continues to cause problems and though there weren't as many lock-ups and offs as we witnessed yesterday, we had more than our fair share.
Unusually, traffic is clearly a problem here, the 'bottleneck' at the first corner/pitlane exit seeing problems in every session thus far.
As the lights go green, the air temperature is 22 degrees C, while the track temperature is 28 degrees.
Kovalainen is first out, as is often the case, the Finn followed, a minute or so later, by Maldonado and di Resta.
As more and more drivers take to the track, all on primes, Kovalainen crosses the line at 1:42.028.
Maldonado posts 39.716, as Raikkonen encounters traffic. The Finn subsequently posting 39.990 to go second. Teammate Grosjean can only manage sixth (49.231).
As Hulkenberg goes quickest in S1, Petrov, de la Rosa and Karthikeyan emerge on the option rubber.
A 39.543 sees Alonso head straight to the op of the timesheets, as Hulkenberg goes third and di Resta fifth. Elsewhere, Karthikeyan spins at T3, the HRT driver complaining that he had "no pedal".
Massa goes quickest in the first two sectors eventually crossing the line at 39.074, almost half-a-second quicker than his teammate. However, Raikkonen re-takes the position with a 38.887.
Webber is the last driver to emerge, as Kovalainen switches to options and Hamilton runs wide (again) after locking-up at T1.
Button goes third (39.239) ahead of Alonso, Rosberg and Schumacher, however, moments later they are demoted when Hamilton goes third with a 39.180.
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