Fernando Alonso continued to suggest that he could be the biggest fly in the ointment of both Formula One world championship contenders this weekend after topping a second free practice session on Saturday morning.

Having edged Felipe Massa for fastest time overall on Friday, the Spaniard left it late to pip the other title chaser, former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton, in the final hour of free running before qualifying for the decisive race on Sunday. He also denied his former employer a 1-2 finish in the session by vaulting ahead of Hamilton and his replacement at Woking, Heikki Kovalainen, with his final lap of the session, beating the Briton by just 0.071secs.

Prior to his late move, Alonso had languished at the opposite end of the timesheets, with just the Force Indias below him, but found a 1min 12.141secs lap in his Renault, the quickest time of the weekend so far.

Hamilton's 1min 12.212secs and Kovalainen's 1min 12.225secs would both have been good enough to top Friday's times, and moved the two silver cars ahead of Massa, who finished fourth fastest in the best of the Ferraris, with a best of 1min 12.312secs as the title rivals continued to be closely matched.

Missing from the expected top order, however, was Massa's team-mate, with Kimi Raikkonen managing only twelfth spot after failing to find and complete a clean lap. In the Finn's place, Sebastian Vettel, Nick Heidfeld and Sebastien Bourdais pushed Toro Rosso and BMW Sauber up the order, with Mark Webber maintaining his strong start to the weekend in eighth, ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr in the second Renault, and Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who had been top three material on the opening day.

Also missing from his usual position towards the sharp end was Robert Kubica, the Pole finishing only 14th in a dry, but still cool and overcast, session, separated from Raikkonen by Timo Glock, and with Kazuki Nakajima, David Coulthard and the two Hondas between himself and the trailing Force India duo.

There was encouragement for the tailenders, however, as Giancarlo Fisichella hauled himself off the bottom of the timesheets and to within a couple of tenths of Jenson Button, as the entire field was split by one-and-a-half seconds.