Nico Rosberg tops final free-practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, ahead of Trulli and Hamilton

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    Nico Rosberg tops final free-practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, ahead of Trulli and Hamilton

    Post by Ross on 17th April 2009, 22:06

    Rosberg tops final practice in China

    Flying: Nico Rosberg set impressive pace to make it 6 out of 9 2009 practice sessions on top

    Nico Rosberg topped the times in the final practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix, putting in a late lap to go just over a tenth of a second faster than Toyota's Jarno Trulli.

    The German set a lap time of 1:36.1 in his Williams, returning after finding himself stranded in the gravel trap on the pitlane entry as he returned to his garage after his first installation lap of the session.

    Rosberg overshot the mark in the tight left-hand entry early in the session, and beached his car in the same gravel run-off that ended Lewis Hamilton's 2007 race. It was not until marshals - with the aid of a tractor - removed the car from the gravel and escorted it back to the Williams garage, that Rosberg could continue with his practice session.

    Prior to Rosberg's return, Kimi Raikkonen had been quickest for Ferrari, although the former champion spun at Turn 3 immediately after setting his benchmark time.

    Nine minutes after losing the top spot to Rosberg, Raikkonen reclaimed it by 0.047s, although within moments the Ferrari had been beaten by Trulli's Toyota, as the Italian became the first to set a time on super soft tyres and moved 0.6s clear of the field.

    It looked like Trulli's time would remain unbeatable as even Button lapped a tenth of a second slower on his super soft tyre run. But in the final minute Rosberg improved to 1:36.133, 0.139s faster than Trulli.

    Hamilton then came within 0.058s of taking second from the Toyota as he pushed Button down to fourth place.

    Renault's Nelson Piquet took a surprise fifth, ahead of Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) and Kazuki Nakajima (Williams).

    Timo Glock completed just six laps before a gearbox problem brought his Toyota back into the pits and ended his session. Work continued on the car throughout the rest of the hour, with the level of activity in the garage suggesting a gearbox change - and consequently a five-place grid penalty - was likely.

    Both Red Bulls hit trouble too, as identical driveshaft issues halted Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel after a handful of laps, forcing the team to make precautionary changes to avoid gearbox damage.

    Fernando Alonso also spent much of the session in the garage with his Renault receiving mechanical attention, only completing six laps before his problems struck.

    Unoffical Saturday practice times from Shanghai:

    1. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:36.133 17
    2. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:36.272 + 0.139 22
    3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:36.330 + 0.197 17
    4. Button Brawn GP-Mercedes (B) 1:36.463 + 0.330 16
    5. Piquet Renault (B) 1:36.464 + 0.331 16
    6. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:36.528 + 0.395 18
    7. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:36.547 + 0.414 13
    8. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:36.560 + 0.427 17
    9. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:36.568 + 0.435 17
    10. Barrichello Brawn GP-Mercedes (B) 1:36.642 + 0.509 17
    11. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:36.702 + 0.569 14
    12. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:36.742 + 0.609 14
    13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:36.742 + 0.609 16
    14. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:36.834 + 0.701 17
    15. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:37.330 + 1.197 8
    16. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:37.349 + 1.216 7
    17. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:37.534 + 1.401 17
    18. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:37.732 + 1.599 18
    19. Alonso Renault (B) 1:38.003 + 1.870 6
    20. Glock Toyota (B) 1:39.110 + 2.977 6


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