Alonso heads Ferrari 1-2 in final practice

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Fernando Alonso has finished the final free practice session ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix quickest, leading a superb team display from Ferrari.

The Spanish driver took advantage of the soft tires late on in the session to post a quickest time of 1:35.391, a full six-tenths clear of teammate Felipe Massa. The Brazilian did show strong pace though, and he will be hoping to challenge for his first pole position in almost five years.

Lewis Hamilton finished third for Mercedes, and the 2008 world champion looked set to finish the session quickest until the Ferraris made their way out late on. Sebastian Vettel finished fourth, but he required a late lap to move up from outside the top ten. He was closely followed by Mark Webber, who finished over one second behind Alonso at the top.

The Red Bulls were followed by Adrian Sutil and Kimi Raikkonen, both of whom will be pleased with their pace, whilst McLaren showed signs of improvement to finish P8 and P9, with Button leading Perez.

Toro Rosso will be pleased with their showing in FP3, finishing 11th and 12th as they look to build upon Jean-Eric Vergne’s point in Malaysia. However, things were less bright for Nico Rosberg, as a hydraulic failure forced him to miss the final soft running, thus leaving him in 14th place.

Once again, tire management was key, and most drivers only opted for one run on the soft tire. During the long runs, there was little to separate Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes, presenting a close battle for qualifying later today.

For a complete classification of results, click here.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images
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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

Fast 12

Josef Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Will Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480 mph), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.