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Hamilton fastest in practice for Korean GP, Alonso second

Associated Press

10/11/2012 11:54:29 PM

YEONGAM, South Korea -- McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in Friday's opening practice for the Formula One Korean Grand Prix.

Hamilton edged championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari by 0.302 seconds while Red Bull driver Mark Webber was third at the Korean International Circuit.

Alonso leads Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel by four points with five races left. Vettel was fifth-fastest in the first of two practice sessions Friday, behind Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

Alonso, who crashed out at the first corner of the previous Japanese GP, led for most of Friday's early session but Hamilton replaced the Spaniard at the top with four minutes left after a lap of 1 minute, 39.148 seconds.

The Mercedes-bound Hamilton will be looking to re-ignite his championship hopes in Sunday's race. The Briton is in fourth place in the standings, 42 points behind Alonso.

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher was sixth followed by teammate Nico Rosberg. Lotus' Romain Grosjean was eighth while Force India's Paul di Resta and McLaren's Jenson Button rounded out the top 10.

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen -- third in the championship standings -- was 11th on the timesheets.