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Practice Two - Raikkonen heads three-team tussle 22 Aug 2008

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 22 August 2008 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 22 August 2008 Jenson Button (GBR) Honda RA108.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 22 August 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 22 August 2008

Renault’s Fernando Alonso and Honda’s Jenson Button came within an ace of upstaging him in the dying moments, but Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen signalled the intensity of his title challenge by setting the pace in Valencia on Friday afternoon.

The Finn had lapped in 1m 39.677s to pip team mate Felipe Massa, when Alonso and Button slipped in laps of 1m 39.497s and 1m 39.546s respectively. Raikkonen’s reply, like the other quick times set on Bridgestone’s super-soft tyre, was 1m 39.477s which proved good enough to get the job done.

Massa remained fourth, behind the leading F2008, the Renault and the Honda, and ahead of the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen, which had respective laps of 1m 39.712s and 1m 39.954s. The final runner below 1m 40s was on-form Toyota driver Timo Glock, with 1m 39.967s for seventh.

BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica was eighth on 1m 40.149s, leading a plethora of drivers thus: Renault’s Nelson Piquet (1m 40.439s), Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 40.500s), Red Bull’s Mark Webber (1m 40.585s), Williams’ Nico Rosberg (1m 40.607s), Red Bull’s David Coulthard (1m 40.696s), Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima (1m 40.742s), Toyota’s Jarno Trulli (1m 40.877s), Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel (1m 40.982s), Force India’s Adrian Sutil (1m 40.999s), BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld (1m 41.084s), Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais (1m 41.246s) and Honda’s Rubens Barrichello (1m 41.377s).

There were plenty of incidents this time, with Trulli, Piquet, Massa, Fisichella, Bourdais, Heidfeld and Webber all running off track. The big miss of the day came when Rosberg spun under braking for Turn 25 and went backwards down the inside of Webber, who fortunately saw the errant Williams coming and did not turn in.

Alonso is also under investigation for crossing the white line whilst pitting.

The general consensus is that the drivers love the track, and that the first day of running for the European Grand Prix was a major success.