A considerably more relaxed Lewis Hamilton continued to demonstrate the pace of the McLaren package at the Hungaroring after setting the fastest time in the final practice session before a critical qualifying hour.
The defending world champion, aided by a refined version of the aerodynamic package that proved so effective at the Nurburgring a fortnight ago, clocked a 1:21.009 in the closing stages of the session going a second quicker than he managed on Friday.
BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld lapped second quickest, 0.4s slower than Hamilton and would appear to be the first of the so-called “rabbits”, those drivers who know they will have a tough fight on their hands in qualifying and therefore run light fuel loads to get acclimatised to the car in qualifying trim.
Williams’ Nico Rosberg was third quickest ahead of Heikki Kovalainen in the sister McLaren.
Sebastian Buemi in fifth place demonstrated the potential of the updated Toro Rosso car which is the same chassis that Red Bull ran at the British Grand Prix. And his rookie teammate Jaime Alguersuari who makes his debut this weekend improved on his Friday form to go sixteenth.
Championship frontrunners Brawn GP and Red Bull know they will have little difficulty progressing into the final qualifying shoot out this afternoon and therefore had low key sessions.
Mark Webber, fresh from his maiden victory at the Nurburgring, was the first driver from the two teams in ninth place with teammate Sebastian Vettel, who appeared to be struggling with his car, in P20.
Cooler temperatures in Budapest could hurt Brawn GP this weekend. Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button ended the session twelfth and fifteenth respectively.
Adrian Sutil was the only causality of the session after he crashed his Force India into the barriers at Turn 9.