Hamilton tops Free Practice 3 in Canada

Lewis Hamilton escaped a late brush with the wall to top the final Canadian practice session for McLaren.

The British driver clipped the wall on his final effort, but managed to escape with his MP4-25 still intact.

Hamilton’s led the way with a time of 1:16.058 – nearly three tenths ahead of the Red Bull of Mark Webber, with Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari in third.

Michael Schumacher kept himself in the mix in fourth, with the second Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel in fifth and Robert Kubica (Renault) in sixth.

Despite Hamilton’s pace his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button could only manage eighth – encountering traffic on a number of his runs.

With morning raining leaving the circuit damp in placed, the session started slowly with drivers choosing to complete one installation lap and then bide their time – allowing for conditions to improve.

The first man to set a fast lap was the Sauber of Kobayashi, who was quickly knocked off his perch by Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso. However both men were relegated to thirteenth and fourteenth respectively, once the front runners took to the track.

Drivers left it late to try the option tyre, and although Hamilton managed to set a faster time on the compound, question marks still remain over its longevity.

The session was not short of casualties, with the Hispania of Karun Chandhok grinding to a hault while exiting the pits for the first time. Additionally, Nico Rosberg suffered from a clutch issue which prevented him for setting a fast time until two minutes before the end of the session.

Felipe Massa touched the wall on the exit of turn seven, damaging the front wing and the tyres on the left side of his Ferrari. However, the Brazilian appeared to get away with the incident and managed to return to the track before the end of the session.

Lucas di Grassi’s nightmare continued, after the Virgin driver spun at Turn 10 and ended up beached in the gravel trap – bringing out the yellow flags.

Pos  Driver         Team                   Time              Laps
1.   Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:16.058            15
2.   Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:16.340  + 0.282   16
3.   Alonso         Ferrari                1:16.495  + 0.437   19
4.   Schumacher     Mercedes               1:16.536  + 0.478   15
5.   Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:16.582  + 0.524   16
6.   Kubica         Renault                1:16.653  + 0.595   18
7.   Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:16.673  + 0.615   15
8.   Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:16.699  + 0.641   16
9.   Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:16.814  + 0.756   15
10.  Petrov         Renault                1:16.982  + 0.924   18
11.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:17.121  + 1.063   16
12.  Massa          Ferrari                1:17.231  + 1.173   16
13.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:17.331  + 1.273   22
14.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:17.548  + 1.490   20
15.  de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari         1:17.609  + 1.551   16
16.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:17.633  + 1.575   21
17.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:17.789  + 1.731   18
18.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1:17.979  + 1.921    4
19.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         1:19.013  + 2.955   15
20.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         1:19.447  + 3.389   16
21.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:19.536  + 3.478   22
22.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        1:19.844  + 3.786   20
23.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth           1:20.325  + 4.267   18
24.  Chandhok       HRT-Cosworth                                1