Jenson Button fastest in final practice at Brazilian GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel
Hamilton fourth fastest; title contender Alonso eighth
By Mike Wise at Interlagos. Last Updated: 24/11/12 3:03pm
Jenson Button was fastest in final practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of title leader Sebastian Vettel on Saturday.
The McLaren driver lapped the 4.309km Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in a time of 1:13.188, with Vettel 0.057s adrift.
The latter's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber was third fastest ahead of Button's own team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Romain Grosjean was fifth fastest for Lotus ahead of Force India pair Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg.
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso, who stands 13 points behind Vettel in the title race heading into Sunday's finale, ended the session eighth just over half-a-second down.
Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa was tenth fastest, with Williams driver Pastor Maldonado separating them.
The hour-long session took place in considerably cooler conditions than those experienced on Friday afternoon, with track temperatures around 16 degrees down.
Button, for one, seemed happy. Taking to the track, he immediately reported "amazing" grip, although that might also have been down to McLaren's decision to bolt their higher downforce rear-wing back on his car.
The 2009 champion wound up fastest on the both the hard and medium tyre from Vettel - the Red Bulls quicker through the tight sector two but then losing out on the uphill blast from Juncao to the start-finish line.
Even so, in Championship terms it was a positive enough session for them. As is their habit Ferrari were on track later, with Alonso and Massa once again practicing a tow as they seek to extract every possible advantage.
Elsewhere, Kimi Raikkonen's already disjointed build-up at Interlagos ended early in P3 when his Lotus came to a halt at Turn 4 - the Finn pulling off the track after a loss of oil pressure brought an engine failure.
McLaren initially went one-two as Button shaded Hamilton with a lap time of 1:13.858.
Vettel then split them, 0.066s down on Button, with Webber moving fourth while Massa and Alonso moved fourth and sixth respectively after their hard tyre runs.
Schumacher, who was sixth fastest in P2, ended the session 15th overall.
The seven-times World Champion, who is bowing out from the sport for a second time this weekend, needed all of his reflexes halfway through the session, however, when Bruno Senna spun his Williams right in front of him.
Senna lost control exiting Juncao, with Schumacher darting left at the very last moment.
Di Resta and Hulkenberg both briefly moved top in the closing moments, but Button soon asserted himself once more and eventually got down to his benchmark time.
Traffic could have been the reason why Hamilton could not improve while Ferrari's session ended with a couple of minutes to go.
Teams now face a gamble in terms of set-up given a weather forecast which varies seemingly by the hour.
Rain has long been forecast for race day but it's not inconceivable that conditions could worsen for qualifying as well.
The latter session starts at 2pm local time (4pm GMT) with live coverage on Sky Sports F1.