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Brazilian GP: Button keeps McLaren on top in final practice

Jenson Button, McLarenJenson Button fended off Sebastian Vettel to secure the fastest time in final practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.

Vettel's Formula 1 world championship rival Fernando Alonso was back in eighth, although he abandoned his final run due to traffic.

Most of the session's action was compressed into the final 10 minutes when the field went into qualifying simulation mode.

Prior to that, the two Mercedes had exchanged the top spot initially before Button set a 1m13.917s that would keep him in first place for most of the morning. Red Bull driver Vettel got within 0.007s of the McLaren but could not depose it.

The Force Indias were the first to show their hand on medium tyres, with first Nico Hulkenberg, then Paul di Resta grabbing first before Button snatched it back almost immediately, the position changing hands three times in less than a minute.

Button's 1m13.192s proved unbeatable for all bar the Briton himself, who got down to a 1m13.188s with his next attempt, despite a disappointing middle sector.

No one could get closer than two tenths adrift of that pace until Vettel delivered a 1m13.245s lap after the chequered flag, vaulting him up from 10th to second.

His team-mate Mark Webber took third, just ahead of the second McLaren of Lewis Hamilton.

Romain Grosjean was a frontrunner all morning, eventually securing the final top-five slot for Lotus.

Force India's burst of pace was no fluke, as di Resta and Hulkenberg retained sixth and seventh even after all the frontrunners had done medium-tyre runs.

The Ferraris had to settle for eighth and 10th, Alonso and Felipe Massa split by the Williams of Pastor Maldonado.

Kimi Raikkonen got no useful running at all. His Lotus suffered a Renault engine failure on the second straight as he went onto what would have been his first flying lap 15 minutes into the morning. Lotus will be able to fit a used spare for the race without having to take a penalty for requiring a ninth engine.

In his final F1 practice session, Michael Schumacher had a lucky escape when Bruno Senna ran very wide out of Juncao and spun his Williams back across the straight in the Mercedes' path. Schumacher avoided being collected and continued safely.

Pos  Driver                Team                  Time               Laps
 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m13.188s            22
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m13.245s  + 0.057   21
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m13.385s  + 0.197   25
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m13.389s  + 0.201   17
 5.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m13.420s  + 0.232   24
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m13.486s  + 0.298   21
 7.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m13.602s  + 0.414   22
 8.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m13.691s  + 0.503   15
 9.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m13.700s  + 0.512   20
10.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m13.712s  + 0.524   17
11.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m13.948s  + 0.760   20
12.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m14.126s  + 0.938   25
13.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m14.190s  + 1.002   26
14.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m14.192s  + 1.004   21
15.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m14.347s  + 1.159   24
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m14.687s  + 1.499   21
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m14.972s  + 1.784   19
18.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m15.159s  + 1.971   22
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m15.707s  + 2.519   21
20.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m15.763s  + 2.575   23
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m16.059s  + 2.871   21
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m16.198s  + 3.010   15
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m16.793s  + 3.605   18
24.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         no time               3

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