Fernando Alonso raised the bar another notch in final free practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, taking the benchmark time for a lap of the Marina Bay circuit down into the 1min 44s for the first time.

As he had on Friday night, the two-time world champion waited until the end of the session to make his mark, deposing nemesis Lewis Hamilton from P1 with a lap of 1min 44.506secs. The time, however, did suggest that Renault - which also had Nelson Piquet Jr in fourth place - had focused on its qualifying effort, while others were continuing their long-term programmes, as Alonso ended the hour fully six-tenths clear.

Hamilton ended the early evening session in second spot, a tenth ahead of championship rival Felipe Massa, with Piquet Jr and Nico Rosberg rounding out the top five. The Williams driver again looked more impressive than he has for much of the season, while Jenson Button gave Honda another boost by taking the sixth best time, putting the beleaguered Brackley team ahead of BMW Sauber, seventh with Robert Kubica, Red Bull (Mark Webber) and Toro Rosso, which rounded out the top ten with Italian GP winner Sebastian Vettel and the improving Sebastien Bourdais.

Alonso, however, was not immune to the wiles of the Marina Bay circuit, being caught out along with day one victim Webber, but the biggest error befell Giancarlo Fisichella, who hit the wall hard after finding his Force India airborne over the kerbs. Kazuki Nakajima and Kimi Raikkonen also had moments, the world champion stalling his Ferrari in an escape road.

Hamilton's McLaren's team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, fourth fastest on day one, was only 13th fastest as he bedded in a fresh engine after invoking his 'joker', while Raikkonen ended the session way down in 17th, one ahead of David Coulthard, the Scot the only driver not to get into double figures in terms of laps as his Red Bull fell victim to hydraulic problems.

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