Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets during the third and final practice session in Shanghai on Saturday, as the Red Bull driver maintained his advantage over the rest of the field. McLaren's Jenson Button followed some two tenths behind the reigning Champion, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton completed the top three.
McLaren and Red Bull were quick to set consistently fast runs as track activity increased 20 minutes into the practice hour. Vettel and Button traded the fastest times early on, before the German established himself firmly at the front of the field. He would be topped later in the session, only to put on a fresh set of Option tyres to become the pace-setter once again.
Little drama occurred as the session progressed, although positions on the timing screens changed frequently up and down the order as most teams and drivers began to focus on qualifying. Behind the top three runners, Nico Rosberg proved to be best of the rest for Mercedes GP, with the German driver settling for fourth after briefly leading proceedings as the session passed the half hour mark
Fernando Alonso was next up in fifth, as the Spaniard began to look more comfortable at the wheel of his Ferrari 150° Italia on Saturday morning. Felipe Massa followed his team-mate by little over a tenth in sixth place, while Russia's Vitaly Petrov gave Lotus Renault GP some hope of securing a strong result in qualifying, by setting the seventh fastest time of the session.
Force India showed some promise after mixed feelings on Friday, with drivers Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta securing eighth and tenth respectively. Michael Schumacher separated the pair in ninth, and despite both men locking up frequently in search of more time, the Silverstone-based squad could pose a Q3 threat later today. Failing to make it into the top ten were Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber, with the latter suffering from an electrical issue. The Australian ended his session with around ten minutes of the session remaining, leaving him less than pleased. Heikki Kovalainen led the way for Team Lotus in 19th place ahead of team-mate Jarno Trulli, who in turn was over a second clear of Virgin Racing's Timo Glock.