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Alonso heads McLaren 1-2 in second session

NEWS STORY
14/09/2007

Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature is 20 degrees C and the track temperature is 34 degrees. It remains bright but cool.

The lights go green and Schumacher heads the queue, ahead of the McLaren duo. Hamilton wasted no time in passing his teammate, however, as the pair exit Eau Rouge the Spaniard edges right up to the Englishman before easing back. It's a hairy moment, and one that appears to summarise the current situation between the two drivers.

A mistake at Les Combes costs Hamilton precious time, ands consequently it is Alonso who goes quickest. Kubica goes third, ahead of Heidfeld and Trulli.

As more and more cars come out to play, Alonso continues to shadow his teammate. Elsewhere, Coulthard gets ludicrously out of shape at La Source. The green 'Astro-turf' by the side of the track has changed the whole look of the corner.

Having missed much of the first session, Massa is back on track. The Brazilian immediately goes quickest in the first sector. A mistake at Bus Stop costs him the chance of going quickest, instead he can only manage 49.461, which puts him second.

At the precise moment Massa crosses the line to go quickest (48.289), Ron Dennis enters the paddock.

Having one twelfth with his opening time, Raikkonen goes quickest in the first sector, finally crossing the line at 48.584 to go second.

Behind the two Ferraris, it's Alonso, Coulthard - yes DC! - Hamilton, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Kubica, Trulli and Schumacher.

Alonso is back on track and immediately goes quickest in all three sectors, crossing the line almost a full second quicker than Massa. The Spaniard is maintaining the sort of form we witnessed at Monza.

Running on the harder compound, Schumacher goes third, albeit 1.29s off Alonso's pace.

Hamilton is back on track, and by the first split he's 0.36s down on his teammate. Elsewhere, Barrichello improves to nineteenth, one place ahead of his teammate. Indeed, Button is another driver to have a problem with the revised Bus Stop.

"I've very little engine power," claims Alex Wurz. "OK, pop in and we'll have a look," says one of the Williams crew, as though arranging a check up at Kwik-Fit. Elsewhere, Kubica improves to fifth.

Alonso is back on track, and by the second split he is already up on his previous best. At the line it's 46.654 as he consolidates the top spot by going quickest in the final sector also.

Massa is the latest driver to get it wrong at Bus Stop, the Brazilian ends up facing the wrong way. It's a corner that could lead to all manner of problems this weekend, no owner the drivers aren't happy.

"We suddenly seem to be very slow," says Button, as though he's only just awoken from a sixth month sleep.

Not sure whether it's the long day we had yesterday or what, but, boy, this is a boring session.

Kovalainen complains of "degradation at the rear" (no comment) and his car being "nervous". Back on track, Trulli goes fourth (47.829).

Massa and Raikkonen both improve, but neither is within 0.8s of Alonso. Elsewhere, Coulthard has stopped in the second sector. Not sure what happened.

A hairy moment at Blanchimont when Raikkonen is overtaking one of the Spykers. The orange car appears to pull over, and for a moment it seems as though there's going to be contact. Hairy.

Sato is brought in, in order that his team can "protest" his rear tyres. Elsewhere, Sutil goes off into the barriers at Malmedy wrecking the front of his Spyker. Up until that point the session was going well for the German, who was ahead of Button, Liuzzi, Davidson and Barrichello on the timesheets. Oh, and Yamamoto.

With twenty minutes remaining, Hamilton is back on track, on the softer compound.

Kovalainen has completed the most laps (31), ahead of Kubica (30), Schumacher, Webber, Heidfeld, Vettel and Yamamoto (all 28).

Raikkonen improves with a 47.166, but remains over 0.5s off Alonso's pace. Meanwhile, Heidfeld and Fisichella both look set to improve.

Hamilton is 0.034s off Alonso's pace at the first split, and by the second he's 0.021s to the good. He takes Bus Stop as though he's on a switchback, crossing the line at 47.465, to go second.

Massa posts a personal best in the first sector, then again in the next two, crossing the line at 46.953 to go third.

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