Alonso top again in US GP final practice

Alonso top again in US GP final practice

Once again it was Fernando Alonso at the top of the time sheet in the final practice session for the UP Grand Prix, the McLaren clocking a best of 1:12.150 at Indianapolis on Saturday morning. BMW Sauber's 19 year-old test driver Sebastian Vettel...

Once again it was Fernando Alonso at the top of the time sheet in the final practice session for the UP Grand Prix, the McLaren clocking a best of 1:12.150 at Indianapolis on Saturday morning. BMW Sauber's 19 year-old test driver Sebastian Vettel was second fastest, 0.17 off Alonso, and the second McLaren of Lewis Hamilton was third.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren Mercedes, MP4-22.
Photo by xpb.cc.

The track temperature was around 40 degrees at the start of the session and the Spykers of Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil were quickly out on the circuit along with the Super Aguris of Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson. Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher also appeared, and the Renaults of Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Race debutante Vettel was next, and teammate Nick Hiedfeld, then the Toro Rossos of Scott Speed and Tonio Liuzzi. The Williams pair of Nico Rosberg and Alex Wurz put in an appearance, as well as the McLarens, but as usual it was only installation laps initially.

Mark Webber and David Coulthard went out in the Red Bulls after about five minutes, which just left the Hondas and Ferraris to show face. The Toyotas were the first to set times, Schumacher a 1:13.692 and Trulli three tenths quicker. Fisichella took third then Kovalainen slotted into second, just marginally off Trulli's time.

Liuzzi and Sutil posted fifth and sixth respectively, then Speed took the fifth spot but lost it immediately to Davidson. Albers was ninth and Heidfeld went to the top on his first flyer, 1:13.135. Teammate Vettel took sixth and the Honda of Jenson Button ninth, while Heidfeld lowered his time to 1:12.964.

Sato then took the ninth place and Trulli moved up to second, four tenths off Heidfeld. Rosberg posted fourth and the Ferraris finally ventured out after 20 minutes, Kimi Raikkonen into second, just over two tenths off Heidfeld, then Felipe Massa took the slot by a few hundredths from his teammate. He stayed out for another flyer and clocked 1:12.797.

It was a short lived trip to the top of the times for Massa as Alonso was the first of the McLarens to put in a hot lap and posted 1:12.559. He was just as swiftly removed by Hamilton's 1:12.378. Meanwhile, outside the top 10, Coulthard was 11th, followed by Wurz, Vettel, Webber and Davidson. Button was 16th, then came the Toro Rossos and Spykers.

Rubens Barrichello appeared to be struggling with his Honda as he had only done two laps before disappearing back into the garage. Davidson improved to 11th and Schumacher to fifth, then Vettel climbed to 10th. Barrichello eventually went back out and managed 21st but there was little activity on the time sheet in the second half of the session.

With about 12 minutes to go Vettel made a move and clocked 1:12.321 for the top of the list, half a tenth up on Hamilton. Liuzzi moved up a couple of places to 16th but nobody else was inclined to make an effort until the last six minutes. Davidson went up to seventh and Raikkonen took the fourth slot off Massa.

Fisichella improved from outside the top 10 to fifth then teammate Kovalainen did likewise to fourth. Alonso removed Vettel with a 1:12.150, just over a tenth and half up, while further down Coulthard managed ninth and Webber 14th. Barrichello got as far as 18th and that was pretty much the end of the session.

Once again McLaren was the main front runner, but this time the Renaults were mixed up with the Ferraris and BMWs. There was just over half a second separating the top eight so someone could spoil McLaren's party in qualifying. Final top eight classification: Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Massa, Fisichella.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Alexander Wurz , Christijan Albers , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Scott Speed , Heikki Kovalainen , Sebastian Vettel , Adrian Sutil
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams