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Friday, June 20, 2008

Alonso soars, new safety car rules tested

Fernando Alonso gave Renault a boost at the team’s home race, topping the charts in the second session of practice at Magny-Cours.

Alonso set a lap time of 1:15.778, edging Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who led the day with a 1:15.306 in the morning session.

Lewis Hamilton, who faces a 10-spot penalty this weekend following the pit lane shenanigans two weeks ago in Montreal, had the second fastest time in the first session, followed by teammate Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen.

Massa nailed the second-best time behind the surprising Alonso in the second session, followed by Raikkonen, Hamilton and Toro Rosso’s Sebestian Vettel.

Canada race winner Robert Kubica was fifth in the morning session and sixth in the afternoon.

French Grand Prix – Practice 1 results:

1. Massa, Ferrari , 1:15.306
2. Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes , 1:16.002
3. Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes , 1:16.055
4. Raikkonen, Ferrari , 1:16.073
5. Kubica, BMW Sauber , 1:16.377
6. Alonso, Renault , 1:16.400
7. Trulli, Toyota , 1:16.758
8. Vettel, Toro Rosso-Ferrari , 1:16.838
9. Heidfeld, BMW Sauber , 1:16.870
10. Glock, Toyota , 1:16.886

Practice 2 results:

1. Alonso, Renault , 1:15.778
2. Massa, Ferrari , 1:15.854
3. Raikkonen, Ferrari , 1:15.999
4. Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes , 1:16.232
5. Vettel, Toro Rosso-Ferrari , 1:16.298
6. Kubica, BMW Sauber , 1:16.317
7. Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes , 1:16.340
8. Heidfeld, BMW Sauber , 1:16.458
9. Piquet, Renault , 1:16.543
10. Coulthard, Red Bull-Renault , 1:16.572

New Safety Car rules tested

Much anticipated changes to safety car rules were tested after the afternoon session, and opinions from the drivers were mixed.

The new process uses the ECU to send a message to the driver, who has five seconds to press a button in response. A minimum lap time is calculated which the driver is required to monitor.

The aim is to avoid a situation where drivers can be penalized when the pitlane closes at safety car deployment.

The consensus seemed to be the new rules may be a step in the right direction, but the system still needs work.

Finally...

Check out the transcript from Friday’s press conference here. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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