European GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report
Alonso on top In Valencia
Fernando Alonso (1:39.283) delighted home fans with the fastest lap on the opening day of practice for the European Grand Prix at Valencia.
Alonso, who won the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and finished second in his home race at Barcelona, comes into the Valencia weekend just 15 points behind Lewis Hamilton's world championship lead and insistent that Ferrari can still mount a serious championship challenge in the second half of the season. In the constructors' championship the team is currently 54 points adrift of McLaren.
Alonso is hopeful that the update package on the Ferrari in Valencia will represent a significant step forward and he finished the day just a few hundredths quicker than the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel (1:39.339) and Mark Webber (1:39.427).
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner concedes that, like Montreal, the Valencia track does not particularly play to the strengths of the team's RB6 but feels that the team will still be competitive. He also believes that the car's performance comes from a combination of factors, not simply a low 'blown' exhaust system, which a number of rival teams are expecting to take strong gains from.
Nico Rosberg (1:39.650), having topped the first practice session, finished the day fourth quickest, ahead of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren (1:39.749) and Robert Kubica's Renault (1:39.880).
Felipe Massa (1:39.947) was seventh quickest in the second Ferrari, less than a tenth clear of Adrian Sutil with the first Force India (1:40.020), but brought out a red flag half an hour into the session when he spun at Turn 5. Jenson Button (1:40.029) and Rubens Barrichello (1:40.174) completed the top 10.