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Practice two - Alonso and Renault eclipse Ferrari 20 Jun 2008

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, Friday, 20 June 2008 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2008.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, Friday, 20 June 2008 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, Friday, 20 June 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, Friday, 20 June 2008

France and Renault - what better than for Fernando Alonso to set the fastest time in Friday afternoon's second practice for the team’s home Grand Prix at Magny-Cours? The Spaniard, running a fresh V8 after this morning's failure, whacked in the best lap towards the end of the hour and a half of running in overcast but dry and humid conditions, stopping the clocks in 1m 15.778s.

That displaced Felipe Massa, who had an adventurous afternoon which included two mighty, non-damaging offs and a lap of 1m 15.854s. That left him just ahead of Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 15.999s, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton on 1m 16.232s and Sebastian Vettel on 1m 16.298s. The Englishman was another to explore the limits of grip, while the young German was very happy with the performance of his Toro Rosso.

Hot on their heels was Robert Kubica, who lapped his BMW Sauber in 1m 16.317s for sixth place, and McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen, who was another to go off track, on 1m 16.340s. Nick Heidfeld took eighth for BMW Sauber with 1m 16.458s, ahead of Renault’s Nelson Piquet (1m 16.543s); Red Bull’s David Coulthard (1m 16.572s); Williams’ Nico Rosberg (1m 16.682s); Toyota’s Jarno Trulli (1m 16.743s) and Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais (1m 16.758s).

Kazuki Nakajima just failed to break into the 1m 16s bracket, with 1m 17.002s for Williams, which was fractionally quicker than Timo Glock’s 1m 17.092s for Toyota. Red Bull’s Mark Webber was 16th on 1m 17.106s, followed by Jenson Button (1m 17.244s) in the Honda; the Force India of Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 17.394s); Honda’s Rubens Barrichello (1m 17.591s) and Adrian Sutil (1m 17.868s) in the second Force India car.

At the end of the session the FIA conducted a test to validate new safety car software. Once every car crossed the line after the end of P2 and taken the chequered flag, all of the marshals’ posts showed yellow flags and SC (safety car) boards, yellow lights were illuminated in the cars and the message ‘Safety Car deployed’ was displayed on timing monitors. Within five seconds of the message being displayed all of the drivers were required to select the Safety Car Mode and then proceed to the pits, irrespective of their position on the track at the time. The test is believed to have been successful.