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Alonso takes updated Ferrari to the top of the times

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Alonso takes updated Ferrari to the top of the times
Jun 26, 2010, 12:02 AM

Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in the second practice session for Sunday's European Grand Prix at Valencia in the updated Ferrari, ahead of t...

Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in the second practice session for Sunday's European Grand Prix at Valencia in the updated Ferrari, ahead of the Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Nico Rosberg was fourth in the Mercedes ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

It was close at the front with four tenths of a second separating the first four drivers and all the indications are that this is going to be a very closely fought weekend, as the top four teams, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Renault close in on Red Bull.

There are quite a few updates on the cars with several teams bringing in blown diffusers, similar to Red Bull's. This is effectively a diffuser which benefits from exhaust gases passing through. Mercedes has one this weekend, as do Renault, Williams and Ferrari.

Bridgestone has the super soft and medium tyres this weekend and, as in Montreal, they were graining quite severely in the early running. The tyres were lasting little more than a couple of laps before the performance dropped off. This is due to the many acceleration events on the low grip dusty circuit, so basically the wheels spin and it sheers the rubber of the surface of the tyre. As the day wore on and the rubber went down on the track and the dust lifted, the lap times came down significantly.

It is not anticipated that the tyres, which are the same choices as Montreal, will struggle as they did there. The track improvement today and the higher temperatures suggest this.

Alonso set his time early in a six lap run, whereas Vettel set his time at the end of an eight lap run, so it's hard to compare the times as the tyre condition and fuel loads were different.

Although Alonso set the pace, Felipe Massa lost time in FP2 when he spun and stalled his car. The Brazilian looked less comfortable with the car than his Spanish team mate on the first day.

* Be sure to have a go at our prediction competition in an earlier post. Guess the margin between Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi in qualifying at Valencia and in whose favour and win two top grandstand tickets for the British GP on 10 & 11 July.

EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX, Valencia, Friday Practice

1. Alonso Ferrari 1m39.283s 33

2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.339s + 0.056s 27

3. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.427s + 0.144s 29

4. Rosberg Mercedes 1m39.650s + 0.367s 22

5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.749s + 0.466s 24

6. Kubica Renault 1m39.880s + 0.597s 28

7. Massa Ferrari 1m39.947s + 0.664s 22

8. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m40.020s + 0.737s 30

9. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.029s + 0.746s 27

10. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m40.174s + 0.891s 33

11. Schumacher Mercedes 1m40.287s + 1.004s 24

12. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1m40.387s + 1.104s 33

13. Petrov Renault 1m40.618s + 1.335s 29

14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.906s + 1.623s 34

15. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.945s + 1.662s 30

16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.115s + 1.832s 35

17. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1m41.371s + 2.088s 30

18. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.457s + 2.174s 36

19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1m42.467s + 3.184s 31

20. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1m42.993s + 3.710s 30

21. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m43.811s + 4.528s 14

22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1m43.854s + 4.571s 27

23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1m44.095s + 4.812s 24

24. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1m44.566s + 5.283s 21
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