While he may be the only one of the 'big four' to not be within a shout of the 2007 Formula 1 Drivers' title, Felipe Massa proved he still wants to show well for his home fans after claiming the fastest time in the third and final practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

An unusually exciting practice session, the order changed and the times tumbled constantly in the final ten minutes, even if there was rarely any doubt as to who would emerge from the hour session as the driver to beat.

Indeed, it looked as though Ferrari would simply head into qualifying with a major confidence boost as both Massa and Kimi Raikkonen hit the front early on and simply took chunks out of their lap times on each flying attempt.

So much so that they were six tenths faster than anyone else - a huge margin given that Interlagos is one of the shortest and traditionally closest circuits on the calendar.

However, the hour would eventually end with Lewis Hamilton splitting the pair, the Brit leaving it incredibly late to make his mark on proceedings after allowing himself to fall as low as 15th. He would eventually hit back with his 18th and final lap.

More significantly, team-mate - and arch-rival - Fernando Alonso heads into qualifying with just the eighth best time after failing to make an improvement in the closing stages as those around him did.

Indeed, the results perhaps had more to do with timing - and traffic - rather than give a particularly accurate indicator of pace, but the top ten nonetheless saw a varied mixture of faces.

Mark Webber led the 'best of the rest' in his Red Bull in fourth place, just ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli, while Rubens Barrichello was a surprise sixth in the Honda having spent much of the session in the top ten anyway.

Nick Heidfeld was the busiest driver on the circuit, managing a total of 25 laps, even if he too left it late to make an impression on the leading positions. There were few smiles at BMW Sauber however when Robert Kubica pulled off with another mechanical problem midway through the session. It is not known whether it is engine related or not.

Behind Alonso in eighth, Sebastian Vettel was again hauling his Toro Rosso into the upper echelons in ninth, just ahead of Nico Rosberg in the leading Williams, although the German did choose to sit out the flurry of fast lap times at the end signalling that there is more to come from him.

Vitantonio Liuzzi was also strong for Toro Rosso in 11th, with Giancarlo Fisichella leading Renault's charge in 12th, albeit only after getting as high as fourth with just a few minutes remaining. Jenson Button, Ralf Schumacher, Heikki Kovalainen and David Coulthard meanwhile let their respective team-mates do the talking for their teams in 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th.

Aguri duo Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato were an anonymous 17th and 18th, ahead of the third Japanese driver on the grid this weekend, Kazuki Nakajima. Kubica's ailing BMW was good enough for 20th, while the Spykers rounded off the times in 21st and 22nd, Adrian Sutil leading Sakon Yamamoto.

To see the practice times in full,click here

 

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