Belgian GP: Third free practice

2012-09-01 12:43

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.

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 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 calendar.

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.

Red 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 starting grid.

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 laps.

Belgian F1 GP first free practice times

Belgian F1 GP second free practice times

Belgian F1 GP third free practice session times
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 1min49.091
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1min49.092
7 Mark Webber Red Bull 1min49.164
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 1min49.615
13 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1min49.621
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1min49.674
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1min49.710
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1min49.776
17 Bruno Senna Williams Renault 1min50.027
18 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1min52.339
19 Charles Pic Marussia 1min52.566
20 Timo Glock Marussia 1min52.630
21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1min52.809
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1min53.383
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1min53.562
24 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1min58.113