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Hamilton edges out Alonso in FP2

NEWS STORY
18/04/2014

Fernando Alonso topped the timesheets in a lacklustre session this morning, ahead of Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo and Jenson Button.

While the top two were separated by just 0.398, the gap between the Spaniard and Ricciardo was closer to a second.

While some might say the improved form, even if temporary, was due to the presence of new team boss Marco Mattiacci, how does one explain the fact that teammate Kimi Raikkonen only completed one lap and failed to post a time?

Problems also for Lewis Hamilton who finished eighth quickest and missed the final twenty minutes of the session with a suspension issue.

Ahead of this session the air temperature is 14 degrees C, while the track temperature is 21 degrees. Slightly better than this morning, but still windy, nippy and overcast with a dampness in the air.

Tyre choices are medium (prime) and soft (option), while the DRS zones are on the start-finish straight and on the back straight leading to T14.

Having been replaced by their teams third drivers, Adrian Sutil and Valtteri Bottas are in action this afternoon.

Maldonado, who was involved in a curious incident earlier when he appeared to be doing something – other than driving – in his cockpit, is first out, followed by Bianchi, Sutil, Grosjean, Chilton and Kvyat.

Because of the cool temperatures, it was taking drivers some time to generate sufficient heat into their tyres this morning.

Bianchi, who had limited running this morning, posts the first time of the afternoon (48.842) but this is soon beaten by Sutil and then Kvyat (41.279).

Another bit of off-road for Maldonado, but this time due to over enthusiasm as opposed to fiddling about in his cockpit.

For a short while it's a Toro Rosso 1-2, when Vergne goes second, but Magnussen spoils the party with a 41.383.

Shortly after Grosjean locks-up at T6, he is almost collected by his teammate who has two massive flat spots after locking-up in T14.

Despite the fact that there are only 13 drivers on track, the camera suggests that they outnumber the people in several of the grandstands.

As Ericsson is given some words of encouragement, and advised he can brake 10 metres later, Rosberg and Vettel begin their first flying laps.

Vettel goes quickest (41.087), while a mistake means Rosberg can only manage 43.827 however he improves to 39.792 next time around.

On his first flying lap Alonso goes quickest (39.251) maintaining the pace shown this morning, while Ricciardo goes third ahead of Massa and Vettel.

After twenty minutes, all but Raikkonen and Hamilton have posted times, though the Finn is on track and about to post his first time of the day. Sure enough he crosses the line at 42.308 to go fifteenth.

Maldonado is the first driver to make the switch to options. As one would expect he posts a PB in S1 but nothing particularly impressive. There are further PBs in the next two sectors, the Lotus driver finally crossing the line at 40.455 to go fourth, almost 2s better than his previous best.

His next lap is 51.569 and while drivers usually slow down following a hot lap before trying another, the opening sector of his next lap is almost 4s off the pace, finally crossing the line at 50.060.

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