Ferrari set the pace in practice 3 - Brazil

Felipe Massa gave his home city fans plenty to cheer on Saturday morning when he topped the times in final free practice for Sunday's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix

Ferrari set the pace in practice 3 - Brazil

The 25-year-old Ferrari driver clocked a quickest lap of 1:11.443 in the dying moments of the session to outpace teammate Michael Schumacher.

Jenson Button in a Honda was third fastest ahead of BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica, while defending champion Fernando Alonso, in his Renault, was seventh fastest.

The session began in warm conditions, with sunshine breaking through the clouds, as Tiago Monteiro, in his Spyker MF1, set the first quick time. The air temperature was 20 degrees Celsius and the track temperature was 33 and rising.

Unlike Friday, the entire field was quickly out and into action with both the Ferrari and Renault teams joining the fray quickly instead of sitting indoors and waiting.

After the first run of laps, Super Aguri's Takuma Sato topped the times before Jarno Trulli in his Toyota took over as the fastest man ahead of his teammate Ralf Schumacher.

Given the changeable weather and unpredictable forecasts, it was clear that tyre choice and tyre management was likely to be a critical issue.

After 20 minutes, Michael Schumacher topped the times for the first time in his Ferrari ahead of his Maranello replacement Kimi Raikkonen in his last outing for the McLaren team.

The retiring seven-time champion remained quickest until midway through the session when his Ferrari teammate Massa clocked 1:12.948, outpacing him by one tenth of a second.

After 40 minutes, the leading order was unchanged, but Alonso had moved up to third quickest in his Renault behind the two Ferraris.

There were few incidents, but Giancarlo Fisichella and Schumacher were among those who spun and continued as they pushed hard before, with 15 minutes remaining, Schumacher trimmed his time to 1:12.304 to go top.

Almost immediately, Pedro de la Rosa clocked the second best time to split the Ferraris, but they both responded, Schumacher delivering a best lap of 1:11.925 and Massa regaining second, six tenths slower.

Williams driver Nico Rosberg then enlivened things by running off the circuit and back at Turn 7.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:11.443 17 2. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:11.631 + 0.188 15 3. Button Honda (M) 1:12.306 + 0.863 15 4. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:12.535 + 1.092 20 5. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:12.567 + 1.124 15 6. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:12.697 + 1.254 18 7. Alonso Renault (M) 1:12.721 + 1.278 14 8. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:12.723 + 1.280 12 9. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:12.780 + 1.337 15 10. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:13.037 + 1.594 15 11. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:13.205 + 1.762 16 12. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:13.380 + 1.937 13 13. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:13.455 + 2.012 18 14. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:13.530 + 2.087 20 15. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:13.564 + 2.121 21 16. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:13.642 + 2.199 20 17. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:13.814 + 2.371 21 18. Monteiro Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:13.832 + 2.389 15 19. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:13.944 + 2.501 20 20. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:14.051 + 2.608 19 21. Albers Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:14.108 + 2.665 19 22. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:14.875 + 3.432 21 All timing unofficial 
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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari
Author Tim Collings
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