Fernando Alonso gave team mate Felipe Massa a quick reminder of his place in the pecking order as the Ferrari drivers went top of the timesheets in final practice for the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Spaniard, who has been out-qualified by Massa in the last four races, lapped the Shanghai circuit with a best time of one minute 35.391 seconds.
Massa, who was fastest on Friday in 1:35.340, was 0.622 slower.
Double Formula One world champion Alonso has never been out-qualified five times in a row by a team mate and has been riled by suggestions that Massa’s resurgence after a troubled last year is getting to him.
“I haven’t slept since Australia. I’m only eating white rice. I’m losing my hair. A huge drama,” he told reporters with some sarcasm on Thursday when asked about the unusual position he faced two races into the season.
Lewis Hamilton was third fastest for Mercedes with a time of 1:36.065 with triple world champion and current leader Sebastian Vettel fourth and quicker than team mate Mark Webber for the first time this weekend.
Webber, furious with the German for disobeying team orders and snatching victory from him in Malaysia last month, was fifth on the timesheets.
Germany’s Adrian Sutil, who picked up a criminal record for a nightclub brawl last time he was in China in 2011, was sixth in a Force India.
Last year’s winner Nico Rosberg was only 14th for Mercedes and complained of a hydraulics problem.
“Something’s broken in the springs or something. Lots of bottoming,” he said over the team radio before returning to the pits.