SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Daniel Ricciardo put Red Bull on top of the timesheets for the first time this season with the fastest time in final practice for the Chinese Grand Prix in a damp session that limited running with neither Mercedes drivers completing a timed lap.
Ricciardo’s one minute 53.958 on intermediate tires at the Shanghai International Circuit was half a second quicker than Felipe Massa’s Williams with Lotus’s Romain Grosjean third.
Mercedes have won the opening three races of the season in dominant fashion and Saturday’s final practice session is only the third time this season a silver car has not topped the timesheets.
With just two hours between the end of final practice and the start of qualifying, both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were content to limit their running to exploratory laps in the tricky conditions.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg set the fourth quickest time ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who emerged late in the session to go fifth.
His team-mate Fernando Alonso, who had topped Friday’s opening session, did not set a time.
Pastor Maldonado was sixth in the Lotus despite being asked by the team to bring his car to a halt with 20 minutes still to run.
Daniil Kvyat was seventh ahead of Valtteri Bottas, with Jenson Button, the sole McLaren to set a time, ninth.
Sergio Perez was 10th in the Force India with world champion Sebastian Vettel 11th after several issues with his car.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury