Ferrari returned to the top of the timesheets in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, with Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa a comfortable margin up on their McLaren nemesis'.

With the teams now concentrating on keeping their rivalry on the circuit, Ferrari, having lost out to McLaren during the second free practice session, proceeded to dominate over the course of the 60-minute session around the picturesque Spa-Francorchamps.

Raikkonen was the best of the Scuderia, putting himself into the lead within the first 20-minutes and staying there as the clock wound down. The Finn would eventually finish the session just over two tenths up on team-mate Massa, who was continuing to recover from the time he lost on the first day of running.

Unsurprisingly, the 'big four' held a decent advantage over the rest, but with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton a comfortable three and six tenths behind Raikkonen respectively, qualifying looks set to be an enticing one. Still, Alonso can at least comfort himself with the fact that he missed more than half the session with an unknown problem that consigned him to the garage with the McLaren mechanics swarmed over his car.

Heikki Kovalainen assumed the role of 'best of the rest', but was almost a second slower than Raikkonen as the chasm between the leaders and the remainder of the field appears accentuated by the lengthy Ardennes circuit.

Still, the Renault driver did enough to keep Jarno Trulli at bay in the best of the Toyotas as they continue to show well so far this weekend, while Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld upheld Williams and BMW's honour seventh and eighth.

However, there was great disappointment for Heidfeld's team-mate Robert Kubica, whose session came to a premature and smoky end in the early stages, an engine failure the prognosis and a ten-place penalty on the grid the result.

Ralf Schumacher and Mark Webber rounded out the top ten, ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Renault and Jenson Button in the best of the Hondas in 12th.

Despite Button's decent lap - coming in the latter stages - the two Honda-powered teams continued to struggle for pace, with Takuma Sato 16th, Rubens Barrichello in 19th and Anthony Davidson down in 20th.

It allowed their rivals to get the better of them, particularly Scuderia Toro Rosso who had both of their drivers into the top ten with only a few minutes remaining before Sebastian Vettel and Vitantonio Liuzzi settled for the 14th and 17th fastest time. The duo will be seeking to reach the second phase of qualifying today.

As will Spyker, who continued to show improved pace, particularly Adrian Sutil who emerged with the 18th fastest time, just 2.2secs off the leaders - a smaller gap of late and coming on a longer circuit that usual. His team-mate Sakon Yamamoto, who impressed in Friday practice, however suffered a suspected brake failure that pitched him into the Spa barriers and left him with the 21st fastest time.

 

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