Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso sets pace in second Spa practice
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS – Fernando Alonso set a stunning final lap to deny Force India’s Adrian Sutil the quickest time in second free practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.
It was a bizarre session which was red-flagged towards the end after Race Control reported that there “may be spectators in a dangerous area” with Sutil top of the time sheet with a 1:49.157.
Teams had waited all day for a dry track but as it finally began to clear up, drivers were once again left frustrated as the Race Control car was dispatched to ensure safety was maintained.
They then had to wait for the green light at the end of the pit lane before they could make their final assault with just three minutes remaining – over 10 minutes lost because of children climbing on the safety fence.
Alonso and Massa were the first out and ran close throughout. Alonso, however, was significantly quicker in the twisty middle sector to lap 0.6 seconds quicker than his team-mate with a time of 1:49.032.
As with the first session, the second was determined by the changeable weather in the Ardennes region.
Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersauri was the guinea pig for slicks, lapping almost three seconds quicker for his bravery, and was quickly followed and the lap times duly tumbled.
But if drivers thought the second session would be easier than the first, they were very much mistaken.
Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi and Virgin Racing’s Timo Glock were caught out within a corner of each other as the former went into the barrier at Rivage, before escaping to the pits. Glock’s session, meanwhile, ended after a collision with the barrier at turn nine after just three laps.
Lewis Hamilton took third for McLaren behind Alonso and Sutil, and ahead of Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa, while championship leader Mark Webber could manage just 18th quickest – two seconds slower than team-mate Sebastian Vettel in sixth, and the last of the established teams.
Jenson Button was seventh in the second McLaren ahead of Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa. Rubens Barrichello continued his good running for Williams to land ninth ahead of de la Rosa’s team-mate Kamui Kobayashi.
Michael Schumacher was four-hundredths of a second quicker than team-mate Nico Rosberg as he took 12th for Mercedes behind the second Renault of Vitaly Petrov.
Heikki Kovalainen improved after a disappointing first session to lap quickest for the new teams ahead of Lotus team-mate Jarno Trulli, who was comfortably quicker than Virgin’s Lucas di Grassi.