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Kubica fastest in final practice.

Robert Kubica took the Formula One field into the sort of area forecast for lap times before the inaugural European Grand Prix weekend in Valencia as he set the pace in final free practice.

The Pole, who admitted on Friday that the nature of the track suited his style, posted a 1min 38.754secs effort to head another unfamiliar-looking timesheet despite a lot of the opening day's rubber having been washed from the track by overnight rains. Friday on Spain's eastern coast had been hot and humid, but the storms managed to alleviate the conditions somewhat before the field took to the track for the last hour of running before qualifying.

Kubica was joined in the 1min 38s by Nico Rosberg, the German getting closest to the BMW Sauber driver and ending the session just over a tenth adrift, as Williams put both of its cars into the top four for the first time in a long while. Team-mate Kazuki Nakajima was half a second off Kubica's pace in fourth spot, the two Grove cars sandwiching Sebastien Bourdais in third as Toro Rosso returned to its front-running show of Friday morning.

Few will believe that the order represents anything like reality in Valencia, however, with Felipe Massa, in fifth, the highest placed of Saturday afternoon's expected frontrunners. The Brazilian, who lapped in a modest 1min 39.276secs - still faster than Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had managed on Friday - was followed closely by the second STR of Sebastian Vettel, before points leader Lewis Hamilton slotted into seventh.

The second BMW Sauber hauled itself up the order after languishing towards the bottom on day one, as Nick Heidfeld found nearly two seconds to jump to eighth, with David Coulthard and Nelson Piquet Jr rounding out an eclectic top ten.

Hamilton could have been further up the order had he not pushed the boundaries a little too far mid-session, but the biggest loser in the hour was Jarno Trulli, who failed to post a time for Toyota after suffering a suspected gearbox problem on his TF108. Team-mate Timo Glock, who also spun, fared little better on the timesheets, sitting in 16th spot, just ahead of the two Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella, while Rubens Barrichello again struggled to find pace in his Honda, only moving up one place on his last overall from Friday.

Honda team-mate Jenson Button was unable to repeat his third place from Friday, finding himself sandwiched between Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso in twelfth, but the diversity in strategies had potential frontrunners Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen even further down the order, leaving the real picture to be revealed during the qualifying hour.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber.F1.08, Valencia F1 Grand Prix, 22nd-24th, August 2008
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27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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