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FIA F1 - Alonso Fastest In Final Practice

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Silverstone, Jul. 7, 2012: Fernando Alonso staked his claim to the British Grand Prix as the good weather returned to Silverstone for final practice on Saturday morning. Last year’s winner lapped his Ferrari in 1m 32.167s to go 0.153 faster than Jenson Button’s McLaren.

The 2009 champion posted 1m 32.320s to head a gaggle of cars comprising Lotus’s Romain Grosjean on 1m 32.358s, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel on 1m 32.420s, Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 32.454s in the second Lotus, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton on 1m 32.477s, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado on 1m 32.622s, and Sergio Perez on 1m 32.940s. The Mexican set that time relatively early on, but a spin later removed his Sauber’s front wing and prevented him from improving.

Perez’s team mate Kamui Kobayashi was also a spinner, doing a harmless 360 degrees at Club, where earlier Alonso had spun and momentarily stopped broadside on. The Japanese driver was ninth with 1m 33.046s ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in the lead Force India on 1m 33.150s.

Then came Bruno Senna in the second Williams on 1m 33.267s, Force India’s Paul di Resta on 1m 33.367s, Red Bull’s Mark Webber on 1m 33.398s, Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher on 1m 33.462s, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 33.673s, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa on 1m 33.674s, Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 33.707s and Nico Rosberg on 1m 33.733s.

The Mercedes driver was later affected by hydraulic problems which the team hope to have fixed by qualifying which starts at 1300 hours local time, 1200 GMT.

The two Caterhams were 19th and 20th, with Heikki Kovalainen on 1m 34.298s from Vitaly Petrov on 1m 34.781s, then Timo Glock led Marussia team mate Charles Pic, 1m 36.605s to 1m 37.060s. The Frenchman twice stopped on the circuit with electrical problems. At the back, Narain Karthikeyan led HRT team mate Pedro de la Rosa, with 1m 37.269s to 1m 37.429s.

This may be the only dry-road running of the weekend, as more rain is expected at lunchtime, right around the time qualifying is due to start…