Alonso leads Red Bulls in final practice

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Fernando Alonso has finished the final practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix quickest ahead of qualifying later today.

The Ferrari driver posted a fastest lap of 1:33.247 to edge out the Red Bull pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Alonso, like most of the field, set his fastest time on the medium compound tire, although Felipe Massa could not improve on the options and ended up P11.

Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton followed the Red Bulls, although a tire failure caused severe damage to the Briton’s Mercedes W04 after the checkered flag had fallen. Romain Grosjean showed signs of improvement by finishing 6th, with Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta finishing 7th and 8th for Force India, continuing their good form. Compatriots Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten for Mercedes and Sauber respectively.

McLaren continued to stuggle in Bahrain, with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez only capable of finishing 12th and 13th. The Mexican driver is in need of a good result following the worst start by a McLaren rookie in over twenty years.

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Many drivers were caught out as they tried to push their cars to the limit in Bahrain, with Alonso even finding the gravel at one stage. Vettel had a run in with Charles Pic late on in the session as the Caterham driver attempted to reclaim track position, but it was even worse for Marussia. Max Chilton suffered a KERS failure, whilst a fire on Jules Bianchi’s car temporarily halted his running. Neither driver could beat Pic, who was easily the quickest backmarker.

The battle for pole position looks set to be a close one with four teams all in with a chance of starting at the front for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix. However, it appears that three-time winner in Bahrain Fernando Alonso is best placed to claim his first pole position of the season following a strong performance in FP3.

MORE: Watch qualifying and the Bahrain Grand Prix online or on your phone or tablet

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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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 was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

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

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

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

Marco Andretti (122.480), 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 mph 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.

Results are below. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama rolls off at 3:00 p.m. ET.