Sebastian Vettel rewarded his Red Bull
Racing mechanics for breaking F1's overnight work curfew by planting his RB7 at the top of the Saturday morning timesheets in Hungary and halting talk of a 'McLaren weekend'.
While the Woking team wasn't far away in terms of pace, Vettel's statement was full of intent, the German posting a 1min 21.168secs best that, while slower than Lewis Hamilton's marker from Friday, was still good enough to be three-tenths quicker than anyone else in the hotter conditions of final practice.
The Red Bull
crew used up one of their four allowable curfew 'offences' in order to refettle the back of the world champion's machine, and he put the work to immediate use by vaulting straight to the top of the times midway through the hour-long session, making good on a promise that his car would be 'much better' than it had been while recording only the fifth best time of Friday.
Closest to Vettel in terms of lap time was Fernando Alonso, the Silverstone winner clocking a 1min 21.469secs best to squeeze into second place among a tight top four. The Ferrari
driver had also been second fastest on the opening day, and is certain to be in the hunt for pole come qualifying.
The same can be said for McLaren, for whom Jenson Button
was third overall, a further tenth shy of Vettel's benchmark. Lewis Hamilton
was only seventh but suffered a mysterious loss of brake pressure while setting on his hot lap on the softer of Pirelli's two tyre compounds and ran wide, causing him to abort the run and end his session in the pits.
That allowed Mark Webber, Felipe Massa
and Nico Rosberg
to all sneak ahead of Friday's pacesetter, with the Australian the last man into the 1min 21s. Massa only missed out by a fraction, however, having earlier tested his Ferrari's off-roading abilities. Rosberg, too, did not enjoy a trouble-free session, spending some time early on watching as his mechanics set to work, but ended the hour half a second clear of eighth-placed team-mate Michael Schumacher. Vitaly Petrov and Paul di Resta rounded out the top ten.
While the returning Jarno Trulli
again got the nod in the Team Lotus battle, the four drivers behind the green-and-gold cars will have to up their game if they are to make the race on Sunday, as each - Jerome d'Ambrosio, Daniel Ricciardo, Timo Glock
and Tonio Liuzzi all lapped outside the 107 per cent mark in the session. If that situation repeats in Q1, the quartet - or anyone else failing to set a decent time - will have to reply on the mercy of the stewards to prolong their weekend.