F1

McLaren leads on Brazilian GP Friday

McLaren leads on Brazilian GP Friday

The second practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix was, like the morning, officially declared wet but the times were much improved in the afternoon. McLaren led the way with a one-two courtesy of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso ...

The second practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix was, like the morning, officially declared wet but the times were much improved in the afternoon. McLaren led the way with a one-two courtesy of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso respectively. Hamilton's best was 1:12.767 and Alonso was just over a tenth behind. The whole field was quicker than the best times set by Ferrari in the morning.

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes, MP4-22.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"I enjoyed finally getting out on this amazing track, it was just a shame that the conditions were not great this morning, and we couldn't really do as much running as we would have preferred," Hamilton said of his first experience at the Interlagos circuit. "However, it was good to get a feel for the track, and we made reasonable progress on the set-up work and tyre comparison despite the cold conditions."

Alonso was happy with the afternoon's work. "We did not expect it to stay wet for the rest of the weekend so took the decision not to do any running in the morning as we wouldn't achieve any conclusive results on set-up and tyre comparison work," he commented. "Also there is a new track surface here and as a result it was very slippery. However by this afternoon the track had dried out, and it was clear that the conditions were improving."

The scarlet pair were not far behind the McLarens, Felipe Massa the quicker of the two in third and Kimi Raikkonen fourth. There was only a few hundredths between them and they were about two tenths down on Alonso. Giancarlo Fisichella did not go out for a flying lap in the morning but was fifth in the afternoon and teammate Heikki Kovalainen was a little further adrift in 12th.

Massa was noncommittal about the sessions. "The day was affected by the weather conditions, with a wet track in the morning that dried progressively during the afternoon," he said. "I consider that the new track surface is an improvement and I think they have done a really good job with it. Obviously, the track was still slippery today so it is difficult to make a judgment about tyre performance."

Robert Kubica was the lead BMW Sauber in sixth and Nick Heidfeld was 10th, just fractionally over a second down on Hamilton's time. The Williams duo of Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima were nose to tail in seventh and eighth, less than two hundredths between them. This morning Mark Webber was in the top 10 for Red Bull but it was teammate David Coulthard that made it this afternoon, ninth. Webber was a lowly 20th.

Toyota was not quite as far up the order as it had been previously, Ralf Schumacher 11th and Jarno Trulli 16th. The Hondas again stuck together with Rubens Barrichello leading the way in 13th and Jenson Button a couple of tenths behind in 14th. Tonio Liuzzi was the quicker of the Toro Rossos, 15th to Sebastian Vettel's 17th but there was only about two and a half tenths separating the Italian cars.

The Super Aguris followed in formation, Takuma Sato in 18th leading Anthony Davidson in 19th, and the Spykers bought up the rear. Adrian Sutil was 21st and Sakon Yamamoto 22nd and they were the only two cars to be over two seconds off the lead pace. However, it was better than the morning when they were over three seconds adrift, as were a few other cars in the tricky conditions.

Once again, with an improved but still damp track, it's hard to draw too many conclusions from the results, although the McLarens and Ferraris occupying the top four spots is par for the course. There's little to chose between them and we can presumably expect more of the same on Saturday. Final top eight classification: Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Kubica, Rosberg, Nakajima.

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