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Final practice - Alonso has the edge on Button 23 May 2009

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R29.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 21 May 2009 Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn Grand Prix BGP 001.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 21 May 2009 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 21 May 2009

A fantastic qualifying session is in prospect this afternoon after Fernando Alonso narrowly set the fastest time for Renault in Saturday morning’s final practice hour.

The Spaniard lapped in 1m 15.164s, the fastest time thus far this weekend. It was just enough to dislodge Brawn’s Jenson Button, who had earlier popped up at the top for the first time with 1m 15.233s.

But right behind the Englishman, McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen (1m 15.278s), Brawn’s Rubens Barrichello (1m 15.286s on his 37th birthday) and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa (1m 15.293s) were also very quick. And Kimi Raikkonen (1m 15.382s for Ferrari) and Lewis Hamilton (1m 15.389s in his McLaren) were a stone’s throw away too in sixth and seventh. At this rate, it will be a real dogfight for the all-import first two rows this afternoon.

Sebastian Vettel was eighth for Red Bull, albeit a little bit adrift of the top seven with 1m 15.722s, with Williams’ Nico Rosberg (1m 15.758s) and Red Bull’s Mark Webber (1m 15.985s) completing the top 10 and the aces category.

Kazuki Nakajima was 11th for Williams with 1m 16.103s, then came Force India’s Adrian Sutil (1m 16.228s), Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais (1m 16.301s), Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella (who spun at the chicane in the only real incident of the session before recording 1m 16.317s), Renault’s Nelson Piquet (1m 16.382s) and Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi (1m 16.432s).

At the back, neither Toyota nor BMW Sauber were having a happy time. Timo Glock was 17th on 1m 16.527s and Jarno Trulli 20th on 1m 16.810s, with Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld between them on 1m 16.599s and 1m 16.661s.