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Practice Two - Alonso fights back for Ferrari 24 Jun 2011

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 24 June 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 24 June 2011 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 24 June 2011 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP R31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 24 June 2011 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia, Spain, Friday, 24 June 2011

Just when it seemed that Red Bull had a sizeable grasp on things on Friday afternoon in Valencia, the times tightened up considerably as drivers switched from Pirelli’s medium prime tyre to the softer option, and that saw the first seven of them covered by just over half a second.

Fernando Alonso delivered for his countless home fans with the fastest time of 1m 37.968s for Ferrari, the only lap below 1m 38s and already close to Sebastian Vettel’s 2010 pole time of 1m 37.587s.

The Spaniard dislodged Lewis Hamilton, shortly after the Briton had bounced his McLaren into contention with 1m 38.195s, while Vettel was third on 1m 38.265s for Red Bull and lost a chance of bettering that when he ran into traffic towards the end of the 90 minutes and slid wide in Turn Two.

Michael Schumacher vaulted up to fourth with 1m 38.315s for Mercedes, ahead of his old Ferrari partner Felipe Massa on 1m 38.443s, McLaren’s Jenson Button on 1m 38.483s and Red Bull’s Mark Webber on 1m 38.531s. It’s fair to say that all will have more to come as the slippery track fully rubbers in for Saturday.

Nico Rosberg was eighth in the second Mercedes on 1m 38.981s, then came the Renaults of Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov, which had set the early pace, on 1m 39.040s and 1m 39.586s respectively. Adrian Sutil was 11th for Force India on 1m 39.626s, ahead of the Williams of Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado on 1m 40.020s and 1m 40.301s apiece.

Paul di Resta did a great job on his first F1 run round Valencia, lapping in a 14th fastest 1m 40.363s, especially since he only got running in the final 20 minutes as the team repaired the damage wrought on his Force India when Nico Hulkenberg crashed it this morning. Behind him, Sebastien Buemi was 15th for Toro Rosso in 1m 40.454s, ahead of Sergio Perez who took his Sauber round in 1m 40.531s. The Mexican’s team mate, Kamui Kobayashi, was his usual energetic self with 1, 42.083s, then came Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli in the Lotuses on 1m 42.156s and 1m 42.239s.

There was a gap then to the Virgins of Timo Glock and Jerome D’Ambrosio on 1m 42.273s and 1m 42.809s, and Tonio Liuzzi’s HRT on 1m 44.460s. Narain Karthikeyan was 23rd on 1m 46.906s, and Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari did not run after suffering mechanical problems before the session began.

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