Turkish GP: Hamilton fastest in final practice

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/h/hamilton1_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Lewis Hamilton had the fastest time in the final practice before qualifying on Saturday at the Turkish Grand Prix.

Updated: August 25, 2007 12:16 IST
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Lewis Hamilton had the fastest time in the final practice before qualifying on Saturday at the Turkish Grand Prix, leaving McLaren teammate and rival Fernando Alonso nearly a half-second behind.

Hamilton led the morning session with a time of 1 minute, 27.325 seconds on the 5.338-kilometer (3.316-mile) Istanbul Park circuit, ahead of Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa, with 1:27.366, and Kimi Raikkonen with 1:27.506.

Raikkonen won the inaugural Turkish GP as a McLaren driver two years ago, while Massa got his first F1 victory here last year.

Alonso was fourth with 1:27.743.

In the overall standings, Hamilton has a seven-point lead in his rookie F1 season over two-time defending champion Alonso - 80-73.

Qualifying is later in the afternoon and it will be keenly watched after the fiasco at the Hungarian GP on Aug. 5 that led to penalties for Alonso and the McLaren team.

In Hungary, Alonso was penalized five spots on the starting grid for delaying his teammate in the pits in the final minutes of qualifying, although Hamilton refused to let Alonso pass him earlier, contrary to McLaren team orders.

Hamilton and Alonso met earlier in the week in Istanbul in an attempt to clear the air. However, there were conflicting versions on what was said.

"I apologized. He apologized," Hamilton said of the meeting.

Alonso said otherwise.

"He (Hamilton) apologized to me in case he had done anything wrong, and so I asked him if he thought I had done anything wrong as well," Alonso said after Friday's practice. "He told me 'no,' so I did not have anything to apologize for."

Raikkonen is third in the standings with 60 points, one ahead of Massa as Ferrari and McLaren continue to divide the races.

In the 11 races so far, Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen have won three each and Massa the other two.

McLaren has a 138-119 lead in the team standings, although it has appealed the penalty that cost the team their points in Hungary.

Sunday's race is 58 laps.

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  • Formula 1
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