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Alonso continues to set Indy pace

NEWS STORY
15/06/2007

Ahead of today's second free practice session the air temperature is 32 degrees C, while the track temperature is 57 degrees. It remains sunny and warm.

A number of drivers had offs this morning, including Trulli, Schumacher, Raikkonen and Heidfeld, however, it was only Sutil who went off and stayed off, though, thankfully, this happened right at the end of the session.

Schumacher is first out on track, followed by Heidfeld, Davidson, Liuzzi and Speed. The Renaults were disappointing this morning so we'll be expecting an improvement in this session, particularly from Kovalainen.

Schumacher posts the benchmark time, crossing the line at 16.034, however, this is quickly beaten by a number of drivers. When the dust settles it is Vettel who tops the timesheets, having posted a 14.357. Trulli has a moment, but somehow keeps it all on the 'black stuff'.

For a brief moment Fisichella goes quickest, only to be beaten by fellow Renault (powerplant) user David Coulthard, who posts 13.124. Webber goes third, ahead of Vettel, Liuzzi and Speed.

Another off for Heidfeld, who appears to be having more problems staying on track than his rookie teammate.

In the Honda garage one of the mechanics applies an ice pack to his head. We know the feeling.

Alonso is on a hot lap, the Spanish looking very aggressive. He goes quickest in the first sector, and again in the second, finally crossing the line at 1:12.719. The World Champion really seem to mean business. Hopefully he will let his driving do the talking.

Hamilton leaves the pits, followed by Massa and Raikkonen. As Massa has a brief off, Robert Doornbos watches progress in the Red Bull garage. The Dutch driver is having an excellent debut season in Champ Car with Minardi Team USA.

A 13.781 sees Raikkonen go third, ahead of Heidfeld, Fisichella and Webber. Hamilton and Massa return to the pits having failed to post a time. Next time around the Finn improves his time but remains third.

Sutil and Albers are currently thirteenth and fourteenth, it would be good to see the Dutch team score some sort of result this weekend.

Scott Speed is stationary at the end of the pitlane, his crew goes to rescue him. Meanwhile, Raikkonen gets all crossed up, sending his Ferrari into a high-speed slide.

Hamilton goes quickest in the first sector. He loses a little pace in the second but is still up on Alonso. The Englishman finally crosses the line at 12.588, taking the top spot from his teammate.

David Coulthard goes third (13.124), as Nick Heidfeld bumps Raikkonen out of fourth with a 13.591. The Scott and the German both appear to have a little more in reserve.

Sure enough, DC goes quickest in the final sector, and though he remains third he improves to 13.042. The Scot is having a great season, and we hope it isn't too long before he is confirmed for 2008, he certainly deserves it.

Webber goes fourth, further proof of the fact that Red Bull is improving with each race weekend.

After almost half-an-hour, Massa is the only driver that hasn't posted a time.

That said, the Brazilian is on track and currently quickest in the second sector. He crosses the start/finish line at 12.454, thereby taking the top spot from Hamilton, who watch (unblinking) from the McLaren garage.

Jenson Button goes tenth, one place ahead of his Honda teammate. Currently, the Japanese team is ahead of Toro Rosso, Toyota, Super Aguri, Spyker, Williams and a Renault.

That said, Kovalainen goes seventh, slotting in behind his Renault teammate.

As Fernando Alonso begins a flying lap Raikkonen leaves the Ferrari garage. The English and Italian teams appear to be far better matched this weekend. Lewsi Hamilton is also on track.

Hamilton and Raikkonen are running close together, and don't really appear to be helping one another by being that close. The Englishman, on the softer compound, opts to dive into the pits.

Moments later, Raikkonen gets involved in a little squabble involving Vettel and one of the Hondas, who are both so busy playing their own little game that they fail to notice the scarlet Ferrari.

In the McLaren garage, Hamilton is out of his car watching intently as his mechanics work on it. Back on track, Liuzzi is up to eighth, courtesy of the softer tyres. Next time around the Italian improves to seventh.

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