SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium - Ferrari's championship leader
Fernando Alonso set the pace in final practice for the Belgian Grand
Prix on Saturday, September 1, 2012 as the sun shone over the Ardennes forests after the
previous day's washout.
FERRARI LEADS: Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was quickest around Spa in free practice three.
With the sound of Formula 1 engines
echoing around the majestic circuit, Alonso set a best time of one
minute 48.542 seconds to undermine his assertion that the Ferrari was
the slowest car of the top teams.
KIMI GOING FOR SPA WIN FIVE
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari's
ice-cool 2007 world champion, was second fastest for Lotus at a
favourite fast and flowing circuit that has rewarded the Finn with four
wins over his career.
Lotus had planned to test a new system, named simply "The Device", to boost its car's straight-line
speed but decided not to after heavy rain on Friday left the team with just
an hour of track time to prepare for qualifying.
Even without it,
the car looked quick with Raikkonen hoping to be challenging for his
first win of the season in Sunday's race - the 12th round of the 20 race
Mexican Sergio Perez was third fastest for Sauber, ahead of Japanese team mate Kamui Kobayashi.
McLaren's Jenson Button took fifth place on the timing screens, despite
complaining over the team radio early in the session about the balance
of his car, while team mate Lewis Hamilton managed only 12th.
Bull's Mark Webber, Alonso's closest challenger in the standings with a
40-point gap to make up, was seventh after an unscheduled gearbox
change that will give the Australian a five-place penalty on the
Double world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel was ninth with less than a second separating the top 10.
Nico Rosberg suffered a major setback when he parked up his Mercedes
with what looked like a gearbox problem after just 10 minutes and five
Belgian F1 GP first free practice times
Belgian F1 GP second free practice times
Belgian F1 GP third free practice session
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1min48.542
2 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1min48.683
3 Sergio Perez Sauber 1min48.850
4 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1min48.863
5 Jenson Button McLaren
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
7 Mark Webber Red Bull
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1min49.266
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1min49.292
10 Paul Di Resta Force India 1min49.382
11 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1min49.561
12 Lewis Hamilton McLaren
13 Michael Schumacher Mercedes
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1min49.710
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1min49.776
17 Bruno Senna Williams Renault
18 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham
19 Charles Pic Marussia
20 Timo Glock Marussia 1min52.630
21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1min53.562
24 Nico Rosberg Mercedes