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Friday, September 5, 2008

Alonso tops charts at Spa

Fernando Alonso set quickest time in Friday’s free practice at Spa, breaking up the Ferrari/McLaren stranglehold at the top of the charts.

Alonso’s time of 1:48.454 was set in the afternoon in typically damp conditions at the Belgian circuit, as rain hit just 20 minutes into the session.

"We always expect some of our sessions in Spa to be disrupted by the weather and today was no exception,"said Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds. "We tried to change our plans in real time during the session to maximize what we could learn, but, as always, there are still questions to be answered. Overall, though, we've had a successful day."

Felipe Massa was second in front of the two McLarens, while Kimi Raikkonen spun out, knocking off his rear wing and ending his session a half an hour early.

"It was an unusual day because of the changing weather," Massa said. "Overall, I am happy with the work we did over the three hours. The car is working well and responds positively to the set up changes we have made... I think we are moving in the right direction."

Massa led a Ferrari one-two in the morning, again edging the McLarens and Alonso in fifth in a rain-threatened session.

BMW-Sauber and Toyota would seem to have their work cut out for them, both teams mired in the midfield in both sessions. Meanwhile, Honda continue to find themselves anchoring the bottom of the charts.

"The track's level of grip was, as expected, low and this meant it wasn't too easy to drive the car," Nick Heidfeld explained. "We have made some small changes during the course of the day, but, due to the inconsistent weather conditions, it was extremely difficult to make judgements."

"The conditions today were variable, especially in the afternoon session," Kubica added. "Therefore today it was not only the testing that was difficult, but also evaluating the results of our programme."

Practice 1 results:

  1. Massa, Ferrari, 1:47.284
  2. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:47.623
  3. Hamilton, McLaren, 1:47.878
  4. Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:47.932
  5. Alonso, Renault, 1:48.104
  6. Webber, Red Bull, 1:48.428
  7. Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:48.557
  8. Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:48.958
  9. Glock, Toyota, 1:48.997
  10. Piquet, Renault, 1:49.068
  11. Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:49.139
  12. Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:49.185
  13. Rosberg, Williams, 1:49.611
  14. Trulli, Toyota, 1:49.625
  15. Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:49.849
  16. Fisichella, Force India, 1:49.986
  17. Sutil, Force India, 1:50.117
  18. Nakajima, Williams, 1:50.125
  19. Button, Honda, 1:50.464
  20. Barrichello, Honda, 1:50.905

Practice 2 results:

  1. Alonso, Renault, 1:48.454
  2. Massa, Ferrari, 1:48.504
  3. Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:48.740
  4. Hamilton, McLaren, 1:48.805
  5. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:49.328
  6. Rosberg, Williams, 1:49.405
  7. Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:49.427
  8. Sutil, Force India, 1:49.585
  9. Trulli, Toyota, 1:49.715
  10. Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:49.725
  11. Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:49.875
  12. Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:49.922
  13. Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:49.948
  14. Glock, Toyota, 1:50.281
  15. Nakajima, Williams, 1:50.364
  16. Fisichella, Force India, 1:50.740
  17. Button, Honda, 1:50.925
  18. Barrichello, Honda, 1:51.238
  19. Piquet, Renault, 1:51.334
  20. Webber, Red Bull, 1:51.640
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