After the near washout of Friday, the final practice session ahead of the all-important qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix saw Jarno Trulli
set the pace for Toyota in sunny conditions with a best lap of 1:31.709s, a fraction ahead of Sebastien Buemi in the leading Toro
As ever, the Saturday morning session saw some opt to run low fuel levels to simulate the first and second rounds of qualifying, while others focused on the final round of qualifying and therefore ran with race fuel levels on board.
Buemi dominated much of the session in his Toro Rosso and ended the morning just 0.062s off the pace of Trulli who recorded his best lap as the chequered flag flew. Nico Rosberg also made a late gain to record the third fastest time in his Williams, albeit sixth-tenths of a second off the pace of Trulli.
With such a large time difference between the second and third fastest times in this session, it could well be that both Trulli and Buemi were running relatively light on fuel.
Sebastian Vettel was a comfortable fourth fastest while Red Bull Renault team-mate Mark Webber crashed out of the session. Webber, now out of championship contention, was 13th fastest when he nosed the RB5 gently into the tyre wall at the Degner Curve. Kimi Raikkonen
was fifth fastest in his Ferrari with team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella
back in 18th and four-tenths of a second off the pace of the 2007 world champion. Adrian Sutil was sixth fastest in the leading Force India Mercedes while Rubens Barrichello
and Jenson Button
were seventh and ninth fastest respectively for Brawn.
Heikki Kovalainen was the faster of the two McLaren drivers in eighth position ahead of Button and Jaime Alguersuari who rounded out the top ten in the second Toro Rosso Ferrari.
Renault languished at the bottom of the timesheets ahead of a final run on the option tyres that saw Romain Grosjean and Fernando Alonso
move 11th and 13th. Nick Heidfeld
split the Renault duo in the leading BMW Sauber.
Timo Glock returned to his Toyota cockpit as expected and was 14th fastest, just over a second off the pace of team-mate Trulli. Towards the back of the field Kazuki Nakajima was 15th in the second Williams ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Fisichella, Webber and Tonio Liuzzi.