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.

‘No desire’ for Lewis Hamilton to race in Indianapolis 500

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Lewis Hamilton has ruled out a future appearance in the Indianapolis 500, saying he has “no real plans” to do any serious racing once his time in Formula 1 is over.

Former teammate and current McLaren driver Fernando Alonso took part in the 101st running of the Indy 500 in May, qualifying fifth and running high up the order before retiring late on with an engine issue.

The F1-to-IndyCar crossover proved to be one of the biggest motorsport stories of the year, and has stirred the imagination of other drivers to make a similar step into other events in the future, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans which is known to be on Alonso’s radar as well as that of Haas racer Romain Grosjean.

Three-time F1 world champion Hamilton admired 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato’s victory ring when on the podium at the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month, trying it on and joking it may spur him to enter the race to try and win the jewelry.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Hamilton stressed he made the comment in jest, saying he holds not interest in entering the ‘500.

“Honestly it hasn’t inspired me to do the Indy 500,” Hamilton said.

“I’ve always respected it and appreciated it. I got to watch part of it when Fernando did it which I thought was super exciting. I love the idea of drivers being able to do more than one series.

“Just the other day I got to drive an F1 car on an oval circuit which was interesting. I have a huge amount of respect for those drivers as it is quite scary approaching those banks at the speeds that they do.

“I personally don’t have a desire to drive it. Maybe one day I will go out and have some fun.

“I have a lot of opportunities to do those kinds of things, but no real plans to do anything serious.”

Hamilton has previously said he would like to try a NASCAR race for fun one day, but has made clear his plan after his F1 career is over is to distance himself from racing in order to pursue other interests.