Monza 3: Alonso rules

Fernando Alonso ended the three-day Monza test with best time of the day, his Renault R24 lapping less than a hundredth faster than Jenson Button's BAR-Honda as the pair made final preparations for the Italian Grand Prix

Monza 3: Alonso rules

The Spaniard was happy with his time, particularly since he didn't expect to be quickest. "The car is good and well balanced," he said. "But this is not exactly our kind of circuit."

After Michael Schumacher's accident yesterday, another tyre deflation, this time for Olivier Panis, stopped the session late-on. The Frenchman had a left-rear tyre go down, because as Michelin put it, someone forgot to put the valve cap on! Panis did make contact with the guardrail at the second chicane, but although the bodywork was damaged it was nothing like what the world champion went through yesterday.

The Williams drivers were third and fourth fastest. Antonio Pizzonia once again flew, despite working through a race simulation. The Brazilian appears to be brimming with confidence after his strong performance at Spa, and admits that he can't wait for next weekend.

"I have done all I can in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix," he said. "I wasn't expecting to be driving here and of course I'm very happy. Hopefully I will get a solid finish to make up for the disappointment of Spa.

"The car seems to be quite good. Although I have to finalise some more things. The car seems to be very good on long runs. There is quite a few overtaking places here and it could be very interesting."

Behind Juan Montoya who stopped early with suspension problems (which also curtailed Pizzonia's running through precaution), in fifth place was Jarno Trulli, while Anthony Davidson was sixth, testing out a new Shanghai-specification rear wing for BAR.

Luca Badoer continued Ferrari's mammoth tyre programme despite yesterday's catastrophic failure. Bridgestone has admitted that the tyre that exploded on Schumacher's CAR was a development compound based on that used in Hungary. A decision has not yet been taken on whether this will be brought to the Italian Grand Prix.

The Japanese tyre manufacturer believes it knows what went wrong with the tyre, and is describing it as a normal deflation, but admits it cannot be totally sure.

Spa winner Kimi Raikkonen could not get close to the pace all day and was forced to stop during the morning session with fluid gushing from the rear of his McLaren. Team-mate Alex Wurz was ninth fastest ahead of Christian Klien who put in a lot of miles today.

Klien is another whose confidence appears to have been boosted by his performance at Spa and he has been consistently quicker than his Williams-bound team-mate Mark Webber (13th) all week. Sauber's Felipe Massa was 11th, Panis 12th and Toyota team-mate Ricardo Zonta 14th.

Nick Heidfeld brought up the rear, more than a second slower than anyone else in the Jordan. He summed up his day: "The balance feels beautiful, but the car is so slow!"

Fernando Alonso Renault M 1m20.612s 100
Jenson Button BAR-Honda M 1m20.690s 93
Antonio Pizzonia Williams-BMW M 1m20.770s 92
Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m20.814s 24
Jarno Trulli Renault M 1m21.034s 59
Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda M 1m21.129s 63
Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m21.131s 99
Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m21.138s 84
Alexander Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m21.230s 82
Christian Klien Jaguar M 1m21.556s 122
Felipe Massa Sauber-Petronas B 1m21.630s 95
Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m22.005s 73
Mark Webber Jaguar M 1m22.112s 94
Ricardo Zonta Toyota M 1m22.281s 86
Giorgio Pantano Jordan-Ford B 1m23.491s 74

Alonso Finishes Monza Test on Top
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