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Bahrain GP: Fernando Alonso beats Sebastian Vettel in final practice

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Bahrain GP 2013, SakhirFernando Alonso put Ferrari back on top in the final free practice session ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying.

The Chinese GP winner produced a 1m33.247s lap on the softer medium tyres seven minutes from the end, and it proved unbeatable.

Earlier in the session Alonso had spun wildly out of Turn 2 while on a hard tyre run. He stopped just short of the gravel trap and was able to continue.

Sebastian Vettel looked best-placed to depose Alonso at the end, as everyone else fell shot on their medium runs.

The world champion's Red Bull had been on top for most of the session, and waited until the final seconds before heading out on medium Pirellis.

Vettel came across traffic halfway round his lap, prompting an angry gesture at Charles Pic. But even before he encountered the Caterham, Vettel's sector times were already shy of Alonso's.

Running very wide over the rough Turn 12 kerbs then stymied Vettel's next lap and he failed to improve on the 1m33.348s he had set on mediums, 0.101 seconds off Alonso's pace.

Mark Webber completed the top three in the second Red Bull.

Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and early pacesetter Romain Grosjean were fourth and sixth, sandwiching Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes damage, Bahrain GP 2013, SakhirThe Mercedes had a dramatic end to its session when Hamilton suffered an apparent left rear tyre failure on his slowing-down lap. The car sustained suspension damage in the incident, but Hamilton was able to nurse it back to the pits.

Mercedes is now having to carry out a left-rear corner change before qualifying. It is unsure what caused the initial tyre problem.

Force India stayed with the frontrunners as Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta took seventh and eighth, followed by Nico Rosberg's Mercedes and Nico Hulkenberg's Sauber.

Felipe Massa, fastest on Friday morning, was only 11th for Ferrari, ahead of the McLarens.

At the back, Marussia's Max Chilton had to sit out the latter part of the morning due to a KERS problem.

Pos  Driver               Team/Car              Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1m33.247s            12
 2.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1m33.348s  + 0.101s  15
 3.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1m33.380s  + 0.133s  19
 4.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1m33.446s  + 0.199s  21
 5.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1m33.455s  + 0.208s  19
 6.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1m33.464s  + 0.217s  19
 7.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1m33.596s  + 0.349s  17
 8.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1m33.700s  + 0.453s  15
 9.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1m33.764s  + 0.517s  19
10.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1m33.922s  + 0.675s  17
11.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1m33.949s  + 0.702s  20
12.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1m34.117s  + 0.870s  17
13.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1m34.282s  + 1.035s  18
14.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m34.577s  + 1.330s  16
15.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1m34.611s  + 1.364s  17
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m34.678s  + 1.431s  16
17.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1m34.833s  + 1.586s  17
18.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      1m35.816s  + 2.569s  16
19.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1m36.731s  + 3.484s  17
20.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1m36.939s  + 3.692s  16
21.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1m37.630s  + 4.383s  7
22.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1m39.592s  + 6.345s  28

AUTOSPORT Bahrain GP coverage:

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