Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg posted last-gasp laps to annex the top two spots in final free practice at the Turkish Grand Prix, but the session was not always kind to their rivals.
Although neither Vettel or Rosberg had an entirely easy session - the Red Bull driver in particular having one high-speed off at turn eight - both managed to find clear track in the final minute to vault ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who had himself defied a turn eight moment that left him with shredded tyres to set the pace. The Briton managed to get a push start from the gravel trap and returned to the pits on what was left of his rubber, before getting back on track late in the session to post a 1min 27.396secs effort that appeared to give him top spot.
Vettel and Rosberg, however, had other ideas, snatching first and second positions respectively as the chequered flag waved, with the championship co-leader posting 1min 27.086secs to underline Red Bull's threat for qualifying and the race.
While Vettel was enjoying life at the top of the timesheets, however, team-mate Mark Webber was struggling to show that he was ready to add to the back-to-back wins he took in Spain and Monaco. Hobbled by an engine failure on Friday, the Australian's first lap of the morning was conducted on tickover as hydraulic problems intervened, and his closing minutes were peppered by handling-related 'moments. Despite that, however, he still managed to post the fourth-fastest time, less than half a second shy of Vettel.
Renault's Robert Kubica kept himself in the frame for a solid qualifying result in fifth place, ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Mercedes' Michael Schumacher and world champion Jenson Button, while Felipe Massa, who has won three of the five Turkish GPs held to date, was only ninth in the second Ferrari. Kubica's Renault team-mate Vitaly Petrov completed the top ten, but competition for times was close, with Toro Rosso and Sauber both in the mix.
Sauber rookie Kamui Kobayashi was another that went off during the session, leaving him just ahead of the Williams of Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello, who sandwiched the Force India of Tonio Liuzzi. The Italian was the team's only representative on track after Adrian Sutil, who crashed heavily on Friday, was also sidelined by hydraulic problems which took the entire hour-long session to address.
Jarno Trulli replaced Lotus team-mate Heikki Kovalainen as the fastest of the new team drivers after the Finn opened the session restricted to running in third gear after a sensor problem on his T127, the pair leaving Virgin's Timo Glock half a second behind.