MONTREAL, June 9, 2012 (AFP) - Defending drivers' champion Sebastian Vettel topped the times for Red Bull on Saturday morning during the final practice session ahead of qualifying for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old clocked a lap of the Gilles Villenauve circuit in a time of one minute 14.442 seconds, edging out Spaniard Fernando Aonso of Ferrari by six thousandths of a second.
Drivers were able to make the most out of the improved weather conditions, as were the Canadian crowd, who were out in force despite student protesters threatening to block access to subway lines leading to the circuit as part of an ongoing fight against a raise in tuition fees.
Alonso was the first driver to break the one minute 15 seconds barrier midway through the session, and looked set to finish the session fastest.
That was until Vettel, eager to perform well after gifting last year's victory here to McLaren's Jenson Button on the final lap, surpassed his time in the final minutes of the session.
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton was third fastest ahead of Australian Mark Webber in the second Red Bull.
Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado of Williams was fifth quickest, followed by Brazilian Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari and German Michael Schumacher of Mercedes.
Rookie Frenchman Romain Grosjean clocked the eighth fastest time ahead of his Lotus team-mate Kimmi Raikkonen of Finland and German Nico Hulkenberg in the second Williams.
Chinese Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg did not set a time after his car stopped at turn six at the start of the session owing to a clutch failure, and Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne was also forced to retire after losing control of his car and crashing at the exit of turn one.