• British Grand Prix - FP3

Alonso tops dry final practice at Silverstone

ESPN Staff
July 7, 2012
Fernando Alonso set the pace at a dry Silverstone on Saturday morning © Press Association

Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in final practice for the British Grand Prix after the teams enjoyed a full hour of dry running at Silverstone.

The session could prove meaningless if the forecast rain arrives in time for the afternoon's qualifying, but the opportunity to run slick tyres did provide some on-track action for the fans. There were still some damp patches early in the session, and wet Astroturf and grass punished any drivers straying beyond the limits. Alonso was among the drivers to have a spin in the final corner, while Sergio Perez did the most damage to his car as he went across the grass at Becketts and lost the front wing of his Sauber.

Jenson Button set the second fastest time towards the end of the session, 0.153s off the Ferrari but on the hard tyres rather than the soft. Romain Grosjean finished third fastest and also showed good pace on both hard and soft compounds, with his best time just 0.191s off Alonso.

Sebastian Vettel was also in the mix in fourth, but may have more lap time stored away as his best time were set towards the end of the session when yellow flags were out on the Hanger Straight to recover Charles Pic's stopped Marussia. The second Lotus of Kimi Riakkonen was fifth ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with the top six split by just 0.310s.

Pastor Maldonado was seventh fastest ahead of the two Saubers of Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, which both showed impressive pace despite the car looking a little snappy at times. Kobayashi could have troubled Alonso's time at one stage but he spun in the final corner, ruining his lap.

Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher both finished the session outside the top ten in 13th and 14th, but were only 1.2s off the pace of Alonso, and with such limited dry running, may have opted for different programmes. The second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg completed just 15 laps and finished the session on its jacks in the garage as the team investigated a hydraulics problem.

But with rain falling just minutes after the chequered flag fell and more forecast in the afternoon, qualifying could be a very different story.