Mark Webber topped a rain-hit final practice session of 2013, ahead of what looks set to be a wet qualifying session for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Australian Red Bull driver, in his final Formula 1 race, posted a time of 1m27.891s late in the session, when conditions were slightly less treacherous.
Lotus’s Romain Grosjean was second quickest, ahead of team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. Valtteri Bottas was fourth quickest in the Williams, followed by Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg.
World champion Sebastian Vettel finished down in 17th position, as the Ferraris, McLaren’s Jenson Button and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg did not even set a time.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez was the only driver to complete a full lap in the first 35 minutes of the session, as the rest of the field returned to the pits after installation rounds.
The rain intensified as the session progressed, and the action stopped completely for several minutes before some cars ventured out once more with some 25 minutes remaining. Vettel moved to the top of the times after his first timed lap, nearly 40 minutes into the session.
Gutierrez regained first place moments later, before Hamilton lowered the benchmark, becoming the first man to lap in the 1m29s as conditions improved thanks to all the running.
Webber was first to go out with the intermediate tires with 12 minutes to go, as teammate Vettel climbed out of his car and put an end to his morning. The Australian jumped to the top right away, going over 1.5 seconds quicker than Hamilton. Webber’s time meant all drivers put on intermediates for their final runs, but no one managed to beat his lap.
Despite the conditions, the session was mostly trouble-free except for a few offs that ended without consequence.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m27.891s 5 2. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m28.195s +0.304s 5 3. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m28.595s +0.704s 6 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m28.600s +0.709s 12 5. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.830s +0.939s 15 6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.921s +1.030s 5 7. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m29.215s +1.324s 21 8. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m29.686s +1.795s 10 9. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m29.736s +1.845s 610. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m29.913s +2.022s 811. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.980s +2.089s 812. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m29.988s +2.097s 913. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.635s +2.744s 914. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m30.837s +2.946s 1415. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.972s +3.081s 1016. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m31.154s +3.263s 1417. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m31.$57s +3.966s 418. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.731s +4.840s 419. Nico Rosberg Mercedes no time 420. Fernando Alonso Ferrari no time 221. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes no time 122. Felipe Massa Ferrari no time 2