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Final practice - Alonso sets Saturday pace in Singapore 27 Sep 2008

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Singapore, Friday, 26 September 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 26 September 2008 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2008.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 26 September 2008. © Sutton Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA) Renault R28 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice, Singapore, Friday, 26 September 2008

Fernando Alonso took the honours again in Saturday evening’s final session of practice for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix, and with Nelson Piquet fourth it proved to be a good one for Renault.

Alonso set his time right at the end of another busy hour of running under the floodlights, just after McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton had set the benchmark of 1m 45.119s to depose Felipe Massa’s 1m 45.246s for Ferrari. That itself had just beaten Piquet’s 1m 45.249s.

Alonso’s 1m 44.506s, the fastest lap thus far this weekend, suggests that he was running a minimal fuel load.

Alonso, BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld and Red Bull’s Mark Webber all had off-course moments, usually because of the numerous bumps, Kazuki Nakajima grazed a wall with his Williams, and there was something of a pantomime as Kimi Raikkonen slid up an escape road and was not helped out of it by the marshals after stalling his Ferrari’s engine.

The biggest incident concerned Giancarlo Fisichella, however. The Italian went over the kerbs in Turn 10 - which Lewis Hamilton had emphatically said earlier needed to be avoided at all costs - and launched his Force India into the outside wall. He was unhurt, but the VJM01 sustained wing and front suspension damage.

Nico Rosberg continued his promising form with fifth fastest time of 1m 45.386s for Williams, followed by Honda’s Jenson Button (1m 45.409s), BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica (1m 45.425s), Webber (1m 45.450s), and the Toro Rosso duo of Sebastian Vettel (1m 45.477s) and Sebastien Bourdais (1m 45.599s). Heidfeld (1m 45.689s), Nakajima (1m 45.982) and McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen (1m 45.982s on a fresh engine after taking his penaly-free 'joker' change) completed the runners below 1m 46s.

Honda’s Rubens Barrichello led those in that bracket with 1m 46.073s, ahead of the Toyotas of Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli (1m 46.180s and 1m 46.221s respectively), then came Raikkonen, stranded on 1m 46.482s, David Coulthard, limited to six laps by technical problems, on 1m 46.794s, Fisichella (1m 47.166s) and Force India team mate Adrian Sutil (1m 47.727s).