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Alonso remains in charge at Indianapolis

Double world champion McLaren's Fernando Alonso clocks the fastest time in the third and final free practice session on Saturday.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2007 21:42 IST

Double world champion Fernando Alonso clocked the fastest time in the third and final free practice session on Saturday for the United States Grand Prix.

The Spaniard had also come out on top in both of Friday's sessions to give him the perfect launchpad to try and end his poor run of results at The Brickyard where he has only finished once in the last five grands prix.

Sebastian Vettel, who will make his grand prix debut on Sunday sitting in for the injured Robert Kubica, was second fastest for BMW Sauber and Alonso's teammate, and world championship leader, Lewis Hamilton was third.

In hot sunny conditions Alonso wasted no time in stamping his authority on proceedings moving to the top of the times on his first flying lap.

He would not stay there for long though as Hamilton, who seems so comfortable in the McLaren Mercedes, soon recorded a marginally faster time.

Hamilton is racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time and he showed the type of pace and control that earned him his maiden pole position and race win in Canada last weekend.

The Briton remained quickest until 19-year-old Vettel posted a rapid lap using the softer tyre option.

However, the German's time was not quite quick enough to deny Alonso.

The Spaniard once again showed his quality, returning on the softer tyres to set the fastest lap, 1:12.150, in the closing stages of the hour-long session.

Finland's Heikki Kovalainen was fourth fastest for Renault ahead of BMW Sauber's in-form German Nick Heidfeld.

Finn Kimi Raikkonen and Brazilian Felipe Massa could only manage to finish sixth and seventh fastest in their Ferraris.

The whole field was tightly grouped with 21 of the 22 cars separated by just two seconds.

This should mean a very close race on Sunday and a keenly contested qualifying competition later on Saturday.

First Published: Jun 16, 2007 21:35 IST