Spa-Francorchamps: Australian Mark Webber had good reason to smile on Saturday morning after he topped the times in final free practice ahead of Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver was not only the fastest man around the spectacular and challenging Spa-Francorchamps circuit in cold and wet conditions, but did so on his 35th birthday when it was confirmed he had signed a contract extension for 2012.
Webber clocked a best time of two minutes and 8.988 seconds to outpace nearest rival Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, the 2008 champion, by just 0.058 seconds.
Spaniard Jaime Aluguersuari was third fastest in his Toro Rosso, nearly a second behind.
Next came Hamilton's McLaren team-mate and compatriot Jenson Button and championship leader and defending champion German Sebastian Vettel in the second Red Bull.
Swiss Sebastien Buemi in the second Red Bull was sixth ahead of Germans Nico Rosberg of Mercedes and Adrian Sutil of Force India, newly-promoted Brazilian Bruno Senna of Renault and seven-times champion German Michael Schumacher, 42, who is enjoying the 20th anniversary of his F1 debut this weekend, in the second Mercedes.
Two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari team chose to take no serious part in the rain-hit session and preserved their tyres. Alonso did not clock a time.
First Published: Saturday, August 27, 2011, 18:22