7 July 2012
Alonso heads pack in the dry
Fernando Alonso and Ferrari set the pace in a dry final practice, but more rain is forecast for qualifying...
Ferrari number one driver Fernando Alonso topped the third and final practice session this morning ahead of qualifying for the F1 2012 British Grand Prix. Unlike Friday, conditions were pretty much dry for the entire 60-minutes and while there were a few spits of rain it had no real affect.
The session got off to a busy start with all the drivers opting to go out and get their installation laps out of the way. Initially it was Mercedes duo Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg that set the pace, before Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean all took turns to head the times.
In the end, Alonso posted the marker in the final 20 or so minutes, going quickest with a 1 minute 32.167 seconds, which put him 0.153 seconds up on his closest rival. The Spaniard then suffered a spin soon afterwards at the final corner, when he went a tad wide and touched the wet grass. He survived though, and could return to the pits unscathed.
Button meanwhile was 'best of the rest' for McLaren and unlike most of the other runners in the top ten, he set his best effort, a 1m 32.320s, on the harder of the two Pirelli tyres.
Behind Grosjean took third - two spots ahead of his Lotus team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, while sandwiched between them was Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel.
Friday pace setter Hamilton came in sixth with Pastor Maldonado seventh and then the Sauber's of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi eighth and ninth. Both Sauber drivers had a somewhat turbulent session, with Perez running off the road at Becketts and ripping off his front nose. Kobayashi also spun, but it was more harmless.
Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top ten for Force India, followed by Bruno Senna – another with a minor off – and then Paul di Resta, Mark Webber and Schumacher. Di Resta reported KERS problems early on, but still managed 20 laps.
Of the rest Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne took P15, with Felipe Massa down in 16th and Daniel Ricciardo 17th, one spot in front of Roserg, who after going well early on was slowed by hydraulic problems. Heikki Kovalainen led the 'new' teams in his Caterham, with the Marussias and HRTs bringing up the rear.
There was just the one red flag, when Charles Pic stopped on the racing line just after Stowe 22 minutes in. Pic also stopped out on track near the end too, although this time it was on Hanger Straight.
The focus now shifts to qualifying, with more rain forecast...
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