New Delhi - Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in Saturday's final practice session ahead of qualifying and Sunday's Formula One Indian Grand Prix.
On his final lap of the session, the world champion posted a lap of 1 minute, 24.824 seconds around the Buddh International Circuit, putting him a third of a second ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button, with Red Bull's Mark Webber third fastest.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest, with that top four covered by less than half a second. The Ferrari pair of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were fifth and sixth respectively.
Vettel's performance indicated he had the pace to challenge for a 13th pole position of the season later on Saturday. The all-time record is 14, set by Nigel Mansell in 1992.
Many drivers took excursions off the circuit, having complained that grip levels off the racing line are very poor, owing to the amount of dirt that settles on the track between sessions from the high amount of construction work in the area.
The Force India pair of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil were seventh and ninth respectively, either side of Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, and Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi completed the top ten.
There were few incidents during the session, aside from Renault's Bruno Senna spinning his car on his final lap, stopping just short of the barriers.
Results from practice on Saturday for Sunday's Formula One Indian Grand Prix at the 5.125-kilometer (3.185-mile) Buddh International circuit (with driver, nationality, team, best lap time, laps completed):
1. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Red Bull, 1 minute, 24.824 seconds, 18 laps.
2. Jenson Button, Britain, McLaren, 1:25.191, 15.
3. Mark Webber, Australia, Red Bull, 1:25.203, 19.
4. Lewis Hamilton, Britain, McLaren, 1:25.288, 16.
5. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Ferrari, 1:25.784, 17.
6. Felipe Massa, Brazil, Ferrari, 1:26.058, 16.
7. Paul di Resta, Britain, Force India, 1:26.785, 19.
8. Nico Rosberg, Germany, Mercedes, 1:26.873, 22.
9. Adrian Sutil, Germany, Force India, 1:26.958, 19.
10. Sebastien Buemi, Switzerland, Toro Rosso, 1:27.146, 20.
11. Michael Schumacher, Germany, Mercedes, 1:27.217, 21.
12. Bruno Senna, Brazil, Renault, 1:27.235, 20.
13. Kamui Kobayashi, Japan, Sauber, 1:27.262, 19.
14. Vitaly Petrov, Russia, Renault, 1:27.280, 18.
15. Jaime Alguersuari, Spain, Toro Rosso, 1:27.387, 20.
16. Sergio Perez, Mexico, Sauber, 1:27.749, 21.
17. Pastor Maldonado, Venezuela, Williams, 1:27.793, 17.
18. Rubens Barrichello, Brazil, Williams, 1:27.875, 20.
19. Jarno Trulli, Italy, Lotus, 1:29.335, 21.
20. Heikki Kovalainen, Finland, Lotus, 1:29.750, 19.
21. Timo Glock, Germany, Virgin, 1:30.683, 23.
22. Narain Karthikeyan, India, Hispania, 1:30.900, 25.
23. Jerome D'Ambrosio, Belgium, Virgin, 1:32.851, 19.
24. Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, Hispania, 1:32.246, 16.