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Practice Two - Alonso on top, as McLaren fend off Renault 03 Aug 2007

Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 3 August 2007 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 3 August 2007 Anthony Davidson (GBR) Super Aguri F1 SA07.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 3 August 2007 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 3 August 2007 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.07.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 3 August 2007

Friday's second practice session at the Hungaroring was an odd one, and because of a late spin by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton which deposited gravel on the track after Turn Nine, one that never really exploded into life in the closing stages.

With a full 50 minutes to go Fernando Alonso set the fastest time of 1m 20.919s in the other MP4-22, and through circumstance nobody ever did improve on that.

The closest anyone got was Heikki Kovalainen, whose 1m 21.283s best Alonso usurped. Kovalainen was much happier with his Renault R27 than he had been in Germany. Hamilton was right behind him with 1m 21.338s, and it was while trying to improve on that, on the super-soft Bridgestone tyres, that he spun.

Going into Turn Nine with five minutes left, he got slightly short-braked by the tardy Sakon Yamamoto’s Spyker, got into one slide which he caught, and another which he didn’t. The McLaren went into the gravel, and for the second time in a fortnight had to be craned out. This time the Englishman was unable to continue.

The championship leader was far from the only driver to err on a very slippery track. Toro Rosso team mates Sebastian Vettel and Tonio Liuzzi, BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld, Yamamoto, Alonso, Alex Wurz in the Williams, Adrian Sutil in the second Spyker, Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella, and Ferrari team mates Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa all either ran off the road or spun - some of them more than once.

In the end it was Nico Rosberg who jumped into fourth for Williams with 1m 21.485s, ahead of Heidfeld in the leading BMW on 1m 21.517s; Raikkonen, who lapped in 1m 21.589s and looked set for a faster time until he encountered Red Bull’s David Coulthard on his last lap; Massa on 1m 21.620s before he spun in Turn 14 right at the end; Fisichella on 1m 21.698s; Toyota’s Jarno Trulli on 1m 21.857s; BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica on 1m 21.906s; Ralf Schumacher in the second Toyota on 1m 21.912s and Wurz on 1m 21.987s.

Nobody can say that Formula One racing isn’t close these days.

Mark Webber and Coulthard were 12th and 13th respectively for Red Bull, with laps of 1m 22.325s and 1m 22.483s, closely followed by Anthony Davidson with 1m 22.510s for Super Aguri. Takuma Sato in the second SA07 recorded 1m 22.556s, sandwiched between the two Hondas of 2006 winner Jenson Button (1m 22.510s) and Rubens Barrichello (1m 22.727s).

Liuzzi and Vettel were close together, in 19th and 20th places on 1m 23.136s and 1m 23.148s respectively, which left the Spykers in their usual places. Sutil lapped his in 1m 23.673s, but Yamamoto was well off the pace on 1m 26.307s.