Fernando Alonso pulled together a fantastic final lap to deny Adrian Sutil the fastest lap of Friday's second free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, following a bizarre climax to the session.
Practice was stopped for more than 10 of the last 15 minutes while organizers looked for some spectators who had strayed into a dangerous area. It was frustrating for the drivers who had waited all day for a dry track.
Once waved out, the drivers then had to wait at the end of the pit lane as the light appeared to get stuck on red and another precious minute was lost before the they were finally allowed onto the track with less than three minutes to go.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa had managed to get to the front of that queue, giving themselves a distinct advantage for what was a last-dash flier. Behind Alonso and Sutil, Lewis Hamilton ended the day third fastest ahead of Robert Kubica, Massa and Sebastian Vettel.
Jenson Button was seventh quickest, Pedro de la Rosa eighth, Rubens Barrichello ninth and Kamui Kobayashi made it two Saubers in the top 10.
The session began with the track damp but it dried steadily through the 90 minutes, bar a very brief shower at the beginning which caught out Timo Glock and Vitantonio Liuzzi. The Italian went off at Rivage and was able to bring his Force India back to the pits for a front wing replacement, but the Virgin driver's day was done after he thumped the barrier sideways at Turn 9.
It was one of those practices where things changed frequently, including the temperature, track conditions, time order and even the color of the sky, so it depended when you were out as to who was quickest.
Alonso had made the first impact on the times when he became the first to switch to intermediates. Not long after that, teammate Massa shaved a couple of seconds off that to lap a 1m58.311sec. Michael Schumacher, meanwhile, proved that opposite lock is possible through the compression at the damp Eau Rouge.
Twenty minutes later, Jaime Alguersuari became the first person to go to a set of hard slicks, and then very quickly the times began to tumble significantly. Then, frankly, the form was dictated by when drivers were on track as the dry line became more pronounced.
Button's stint gave him control, for example, only for Hamilton to go to the top with a 1m49.248sec, and then Sutil, who had been consistently impressive all day, moved ahead of them all with a 1m49.157sec. And that's where he remained until the red flag came out with 15 minutes to go.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m49.032s 25
2. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m49.157s +0.125 17
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m49.248s +0.216 14
4. Robert Kubica Renault 1m49.282s +0.250 20
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m49.588s +0.556 23
6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m49.689s +0.657 19
7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m49.755s +0.723 20
8. Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1m50.081s +1.049 27
9. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m50.128s +1.096 22
10. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m50.200s +1.168 24
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m50.251s +1.219 24
12. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m50.341s +1.309 23
13. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m50.382s +1.350 21
14. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m50.682s +1.650 25
15. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1m50.831s +1.799 20
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1m51.520s +2.488 17
17. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m51.523s +2.491 25
18. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m51.636s +2.604 19
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1m53.480s +4.448 15
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1m53.639s +4.607 21
21. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1m54.325s +5.293 17
22. Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1m55.751s +6.719 24
23. Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1m56.039s +7.007 21
24. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2m03.179s +14.147 3