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Alonso quickest in second session as Hamilton crashes

NEWS STORY
24/05/2007

Ahead of this afternoon's practice session the air temperature is 30 degrees C, and the track temperature is 54 degrees. It remains bright and sunny.

One of the main things discovered in this morning's session is that the super-soft tyres start to lose their effectiveness after just one lap. Therefore, although they will be the 'must have' for qualifying, they will not be seeing too much use during the race. Though, under the wonderful new rules they must make an appearance.

The lights go green, and almost immediately Liuzzi heads down the pitlane, followed by Albers, Kubica, Schumacher, Sutil and Sato.

Being first out it is Liuzzi who posts the benchmark time, but this is quickly beaten by Kubica who crosses the line at 20.641.

Eight minutes into the session Hamilton heads down the pitlane, and it isn't long before he's lighting up the timing screens in purple. His first flying lap sees him go quickest with a 1:18.033, but he immediately sets about improving, going quickest in the first two sectors of his next alp. At the line it's 17.587, as Alonso goes second with a 18.450.

Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher has arrived, the second successive Grand Prix weekend that the seven-time world Champion has attended.

Hamilton, Alonso, Kubica, Rosberg, Wurz, Barrichello, Liuzzi, Heidfeld, Button and Sato, after ten minutes of running.

Kimi Raikkonen goes fifth on his first flying lap, while Massa has yet to make an appearance.

A 1:17.240 sees Kubica go quickest, as Raikkonen improves to third, splitting the McLarens.

A beautifully controlled slide at Anthony Noghes from Kimi Raikkonen, as he closes to within 0.388s of Kubica's best. Elsewhere, Webber leaves the pits, neither Red Bull driver having posted a time in this session.

Fisichella goes fourth ahead of his former teammate Alonso, as Davidson goes sixth, ahead of Massa. Next time around however, the Brazilian improves to fourth, giving Ferrari a 2-4.

Michael Schumacher, wearing a nice 'Butch' Ferrari shirt, sits in the sunshine, watching the 'action' on one of the giant screens. Massa responds by going second (17.515), having gone quickest in the final sector.

Pace-setter Kubica, on the soft compound, goes quickest in the second sector, finally crossing the line at 16.848. The Pole now enjoys a 0.6s advantage over the Ferraris, which are covered by 0.006s.

However, all that looks about to change as Hamilton goes quickest in the first sector. The English youngster uses every centimetre of track, and then some, as he goes second with a 17.003. Next time around he once again goes quickest in the first sector, and the final sector, crossing the line at 16.365 to go quickest.

Nick Heidfeld complains of a misfire and asks to come in. However, his engineers tell him to stay out as they are working on the problem; "the pressure is recovering" they tell him.

Another lap, another improvement for Hamilton, who has now raised the benchmark with a 16.296. He's running on the harder compound by the way.

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