Lewis Hamilton signalled his intentions to take the fight to Ferrari in Montreal this weekend after topping the time sheets in afternoon practice.
The Briton pipped Robert Kubica to the top spot with less than eight minutes of the session to go with a lap of 1m 15.766. Then the McLaren driver went one better with a blistering first and middle sector allied with an aggressive assualt on the final chicane brushing a further hundreth of a second of his P1 time.
Robert Kubica, who had threatened to take the top honours after lapping the temporary street circuit in 1m 16.023, had to settle for second place with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen a further tenth of a second adrift.
Morning pace-setter Felipe Massa meanwhile was forced to bring his Ferrari to a halt on the back straight after losing drive. The Brazilian nontheless managed to find some speed from his F2008 and wound up fifth quickest behind Heikki Kovalainen in the sister McLaren but ahead of Nick Heidfeld.
Unlike the morning warm up when running began in the wet, the track stayed dry throughout the afternoon session with low track and ambient temperatures making an already ‘green’ circuit even trickier for the drivers.
Several drivers struggled with the low grip levels, most notably Fernando Alonso who twice spun at Turn 2, the Spaniard beaching his Renault on the kerbing on his second visit.
Nelson Piquet in the sister Renault had a similarly troublesome day, the Brazilian suffering a brake problem which left him stranded in the pit lane.
Hamilton, Kovalainen and Heidfeld had moments at the hairpin, while Nelson Piquet, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock and Mark Webber all had spins – Glock clanging the notorious Montreal walls at Turn 4 and dropping out of the fray shortly after.
Mark Webber paced seventh quickest, despite his spin into the gravel, ahead of Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.
Jarno Trulli rounded out the top ten despite struggling with the handling of his Toyota throughout the session, as he had done in the morning warm up.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:15.752 42 2. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:16.023 + 0.271 41 3. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:16.093 + 0.341 39 4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:16.331 + 0.579 36 5. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:16.413 + 0.661 27 6. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:16.589 + 0.837 43 7. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:16.604 + 0.852 39 8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:16.767 + 1.015 37 9. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:17.019 + 1.267 43 10. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:17.068 + 1.316 46 11. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:17.242 + 1.490 37 12. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:17.334 + 1.582 31 13. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:17.462 + 1.710 39 14. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:17.508 + 1.756 39 15. Glock Toyota (B) 1:17.549 + 1.797 31 16. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:17.559 + 1.807 38 17. Alonso Renault (B) 1:17.644 + 1.892 30 18. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:17.813 + 2.061 37 19. Button Honda (B) 1:17.842 + 2.090 39 20. Piquet Renault (B) 1:18.076 + 2.324 17