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Final practice - Alonso tops wet-dry session for Renault 05 Jul 2008

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2008 (L to R): Jenson Button (GBR) Honda with Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2008

It was Fernando Alonso’s turn to set the pace in the final practice session at Silverstone on Saturday morning. The Spaniard lapped his Renault in 1m 20.740s right at the end of a session which began with a wet track after torrential rain this morning but ended mainly dry.

Mark Webber also improved at the end, to move his Red Bull into second place on 1m 20.988s. Prior to that the pacesetter had been McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen, who pushed his MP4-23 round in 1m 21.266s to head team mate Lewis Hamilton on 1m 21.668s. However, a late improvement for Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel moved the German between them, thanks to a lap of 1m 21.277s.

Renault’s Nelson Piquet was sixth on 1m 21.786s, and the top 10 was rounded out by Sebastien Bourdais (1m 22.059s) in the Toro Rosso, Toyota’s Timo Glock (1m 22.183s), Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen (1m 22.355s) and Honda’s Rubens Barrichello (1m 22.387s). Jenson Button followed team mate Barrichello closely in 11th with 1m 22.440s.

With Felipe Massa only 12th on 1m 22.461s it was not, on the face of it, a great session for Ferrari. Raikkonen did not look particularly happy afterwards, but you can expect the red cars to be back at the front when it really matters this afternoon.

Williams’ Nico Rosberg was 15th on 1m 22.544s ahead of Toyota’s Jarno Trulli and BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld (1m 22.556s and 1m 22.916s respectively). Kazuki Nakajima spun his Williams at Vale and was 16th on 1m 23.028s, just ahead of Adrian Sutil in the lead Force India on 1m 23.049s. Then came Sutil’s team mate Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 23.112s) and BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica (1m 23.282s). David Coulthard only did six laps due to problems with his Red Bull, and was 20th on 1m 32.119s.

You can be sure much of this order will be reshuffled come qualifying, which starts slightly earlier than usual at 1300 hours local time, 1200 GMT, when rain is again possible.