Fernando Alonso was the fastest driver in the final practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso has staked his claim for pole position at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix after going quickest in the final practice session at the Sakhir circuit.

The Spaniard posted a late flying lap to edge out Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second, although the German perhaps missed out on top spot after being held up in traffic on his final flying lap.

With conditions again sunny and hot, the teams spent the first part of the one-hour session finalising their Hard-compound running before switching to the Medium tyres for some late qualifying simulation running.

It was during this phase of proceedings that Alonso – who was second-quickest behind Vettel on the Hard tyres – had a wild spin at Turn 2, taking his well-worn tyres over the edge as he rotated the Ferrari without major damage.

Nonetheless, he produced a late 1:33.247 on the Medium tyres to claim top spot, while Vettel was denied after he came across the slower Charles Pic at the final corner, falling short of Alonso’s time by 0.101 seconds.

Vettel was just three-hundredths of a second faster than teammate Mark Webber in third spot, with the Australian set to be hit with a three-place grid penalty heading into this afternoon’s qualifying session.

Kimi Räikkönen was fourth-fastest in the Lotus ahead of Lewis Hamilton, although the Englishman’s Mercedes suffered a late failure as he returned to the pits. The issue was ultimately tied to a suspension failure, but his car suffered a damaged gearbox that will see him hit with a five-place grid penalty on Sunday.

Romain Grosjean was sixth-quickest in the second Lotus, followed by the Force India duo of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, while the two Nicos (Rosberg and Hülkenberg) completed the top-ten for Mercedes and Sauber, respectively.

2013 Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:33.247   12
2. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:33.348 + 0.101 15
3. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:33.380 + 0.133 19
4. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:33.446 + 0.199 21
5. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:33.455 + 0.208 19
6. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:33.464 + 0.217 19
7. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:33.596 + 0.349 17
8. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:33.700 + 0.453 15
9. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:33.764 + 0.517 19
10. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:33.922 + 0.675 17
11. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:33.949 + 0.702 20
12. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:34.117 + 0.870 17
13. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:34.282 + 1.035 18
14. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:34.577 + 1.330 16
15. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:34.611 + 1.364 17
16. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:34.678 + 1.431 16
17. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:34.833 + 1.586 17
18. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:35.816 + 2.569 16
19. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:36.731 + 3.484 17
20. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:36.939 + 3.692 17
21. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:37.630 + 4.383 7
22. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:39.562 + 6.345 29

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.