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European GP 2009

AUGUST 21, 2009

Practice 2 Report - Alonso grabs the headlines

Fernando Alonso, European GP 2009
© The Cahier Archive

Fernando Alonso set the fastest time of the Friday afternoon session in Valencia, seven-tenths of a second clear of the rest of the field - but there was a strong sense in the F1 paddock that the Spanish driver's speed was probably more due to a light fuel load and a desire to get headlines than being an indication of any real improvement for the Renault team. We have seen similar strategies in other places this year and while some might fall for it (potential buyers and sponsors for the team?) the race results are not there to back up the flashy qualifying.

The fact that Romain Grosjean the new Renault number two driver was 1.3secs behind is an indication more of fuel loads than of the youngster's inexperience. However such things will not become clear really until Sunday when we see the speed of the Renault in race trim. The only thing that matters are points in the bag and once we have seen what Alonso can do, then we can be impressed or otherwise.

Behind Fernando things seemed a little more normal with Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello 2-3 in their Brawn-Mercedeses ahead of the two Williams-Toyotas, which are probably running a little light as well. The presence of Adrian Sutil in sixth was odd, while Robert Kubica (BMW) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India) also seemed out of place in seventh to ninth.

Behind them things were a little more as one might have expected with Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Jarno Trulli (Toyota), Grosjean, Mark Webber (Red Bull), Timo Glock (Toyota), Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso), Nick Heidfeld (BMW), Luca Badoer (Ferrari), Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) and a troubled Lewis Hamilton, who did only three laps in the afternoon in his McLaren.

There was an incident when Fernando Alonso ran into Nick Heidfeld in a confusion at the entry of the pits. The Renault driver then had a spin before setting the fastest lap.