The final qualifying session of 2012 ended pretty much like the first way back in Australia, with the McLaren’s of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button finishing on the front row, with the Red Bulls behind and Ferrari struggling way down the top 10.

It’s becoming a bit of a fairytale ending of the McLaren chapter of Hamilton’s career, with pole and a win last time out in Austin, before he moves down the paddock to Mercedes for 2013.

But, with a World Championship on the line, it’s all about the contenders. Sebastian Vettel, 13 points ahead in the chase, managed to get his car to 4th place, while rival Fernando Alonso could only manage 8th.

Both cars have their teammates ahead of them – Mark Webber nabbed 3rd, with home hero Felipe Massa in 5th – the only wildcard is the Williams of Pastor Maldonado who, to want of a better phrase, is smack bang in the middle in 7th.

Other notable performances; Romain Grosjean ended up in 18th place, and hot water with the stewards, after colliding with Pedro De La Rosa in Q1. Nico Hulkenberg continued his purple patch by lining up 7th. And the final stop on Michael Schumacher’s retirement tour has finished with him starting down in 14th place.

With rain predicted at a venue that’s already famed for it’s unpredictable nature, anything could happen come tomorrow afternoon. It’s all ended up quite tasty, hasn’t it?

UPDATED: After missing a weigh-in during the qualifying hour, Pastor Maldonado has received a third reprimand for the season, gaining a 10-place grid penalty. The Venezuelan now starts 16th, and more importantly, Fernando Alonso moves up to 7th.

POSDriverTeamTimeDiff
1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren/Mercedes1'12.458-
2Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Mercedes1'12.5130.055
3Mark WebberRed Bull/Renault1'12.5810.123
4Sebastian VettelRed Bull/Renault1'12.7600.302
5Felipe MassaFerrari1'12.9870.529
6Pastor MaldonadoWilliams/Renault1'13.1740.716
7Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1'13.2060.748
8Fernando AlonsoFerrari1'13.2530.795
9Kimi RaikkonenLotus/Renault1'13.2980.840
10Nico RosbergMercedes1'13.4891.031
11Paul Di RestaForce India/Mercedes1'14.1211.663
12Bruno SennaWilliams/Renault1'14.2191.761
13Sergio PerezSauber/Ferrari1'14.2341.776
14M.SchumacherMercedes1'14.3341.876
15Kamui KobayashiSauber/Ferrari1'14.3801.922
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso/Ferrari1'14.5742.116
17Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso/Ferrari1'14.6192.161
18Romain GrosjeanLotus/Renault1'16.9674.509
19Vitaly PetrovCaterham/Renault1'17.0734.615
20H.KovalainenCaterham/Renault1'17.0864.628
21Timo GlockMarussia/Cosworth1'17.5085.050
22Charles PicMarussia/Cosworth1'18.1045.646
23N.KarthikeyanHRT/Cosworth1'19.5767.118
24Pedro de la RosaHRT/Cosworth1'19.6997.241
Hamilton on form in Brazil – credit: McLaren Media