Mark Webber finished at the top of the FP3 standings in Montreal at the end of a frantic final few minutes in a shortened session.
The final practice period ahead of qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix was restricted to just half an hour after lengthy repairs were needed to fix a barrier at Turn 11 which had been damaged in a support race accident earlier in the morning.
When the action did get underway at 10.30am local time, the early minutes saw installation laps give way to a period in which the expected front runners played a waiting game while the track was taken over by drivers needing either mileage on an unfamiliar track or seeking a fix for lingering set-up issues.
P1 on the timesheet was taken, in swift succession, by rookies Esteban Gutierrez, and Valtteri Bottas before Felipe Massa stamped some authority on proceedings with a lap of 1:23.492 set on intermediate tyres just before the quarter hour mark.
The exploration on intermediates continued until the final few minutes of the session when Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, until then with just single installation lap under his belt, emerged on slick supersoft tyres.
He was still joined on track by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, on the same specification rubber, and that triggered a frenzy, as the field switched to slick tyres and the times began to tumble.
On an improving track, claiming P1 was, in the end, simply a matter of who crossed the finish line last. And that honour fell to Webber, whose lap of 1:17.895 was good enough to see off Force India’s Adrian Sutil by 0.353. Third place went to Lewis Hamilton, with the Mercedes driver eight tenths of a second adrift of Webber’s benchmark. Alonso finished fourth, while Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel ended the truncated session in fifth place, the defending champion only setting his first timed lap with just two minutes left on the clock.
Nico Rosberg was sixth for Mercedes, followed by Force India’s Paul Di Resta, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, McLaren’s Jenson Button and, in tenth place, the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen.
2013 Canadian Grand Prix third practice times
1 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1:17.895
2 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:18.248 +0.353
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.732 +0.837
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:18.977 +1.082
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:19.131 +1.236
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:19.457 +1.562
7 Paul di Resta Force India 1:19.496 +1.601
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:19.750 +1.855
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1:19.790 +1.895
10 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1:20.316 +2.421
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:20.596 +2.701
12 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:21.035 +3.140
13 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:21.364 +3.469
14 Max Chilton Marussia 1:21.652 +3.757
15 Nico Hülkenberg Sauber 1:22.021 +4.126
16 Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber 1:22.720 +4.825
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:23.058 +5.163
18 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:23.132 +5.237
19 Sergio Pérez McLaren 1:23.309 +5.414
20 Charles Pic Caterham 1:23.620 +5.725
21 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:24.314 +6.419
22 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:26.195 +8.300