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Hamilton quickest, as 'Keystone marshals' steal the show

NEWS STORY
06/06/2008

Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature is 19 degrees C, while the track temperature is 21 degrees. Thankfully, there has been no further rain, however, it is widely predicted that there will be a brief downpour during the next ninety minutes.

As we await the green light, a groundhog runs across the track, bringing back memories of last year's incident involving Anthony Davidson. Indeed, it brings back sad memories of Super Aguri.

The first 'eager beaver' is Robert Kubica, who heads off down the pitlane the moment the session gets underway, closely followed by his BMW teammate. Soon, Vettel, Glock, Bourdais, Trulli and several others join the Munich duo.

Kubica posts the first time of the afternoon, the Pole crossing the line at 1:19.401. Moments later, his teammate posts 18.960.

Whereas the start of the opening session saw little action, the opening few minutes of the second session is fast and furious. Just five minutes into the session, and there are already fourteen names on the timesheets, with Hamilton at the top (17.517), ahead of Kubica, Heidfeld, Alonso and Rosberg. Elsewhere, Piquet does a 360.

All but this morning's pace-setter, Felipe Massa, are on track.

As Alonso goes second (17.704), Massa heads down the pitlane. Elsewhere, Kovalainen and Raikkonen are both on hot laps. The McLaren driver takes top spot with a 17.166, as his Ferrari rival takes second with a 17.296.

David Coulthard goes quickest in the first sector, as Massa goes third with a 17.251, thereby bumping Hamilton down to fourth.

Nick Heidfeld lists a litany of problems with his car, concluding that; "it doesn't feel very nice to drive".

Mean while, it's a Ferrari 1-2 as Raikkonen goes quickest in all three sectors, posting a 16.558 at the line, and Massa goes second with a 16.875.

And we're still only sixteen minutes into the session.

A 16.859 sees Hamilton go second, splitting the Ferraris, as the skies begin to darken. Elsewhere, Webber gets it all wrong at the hairpin and Fisichella has a close encounter with the 'Wall of Champions'.

Heidfeld goes second, closing to within 0.031s of Raikkonen, the BMWs really looking good here today.

The biggest disappointment thus far is Honda, with Barrichello and Button both languishing at the bottom of the timesheets. Both are 05s off the pace of the next slowest driver, Timo Glock.

More bad news for Piquet (currently fifteenth). His car grinds to a halt at the pitlane entrance, smoke pouring from the rear. It seems an age before the hapless Brazilian is 'rescued', and his car pushed up the pitlane to the Renault garage. This is the last thing the youngster needs.

Massa goes quickest, the Brazilian posting 16.418. While some are now using the soft option (super soft), Massa, and most of the other current front runners are sticking with the harder (soft) option. Does that make sense?

Bourdais complains that his rear tyres are graining, admitting he's never experienced this before.

At half-time, it's Raikkonen, Massa, Heidfeld, Hamilton, Kubica, Kovalainen, Rosberg, Nakajima, Coulthard and Vettel.

As Kubica goes fourth, Alonso spins at the Island Hairpin just after the pit straight. The Spaniard's car is beached on the kerbs, which means that both Renaults appear to be out. In the background one can hear the dulcet tones of Bob Constanduros. Elsewhere, Robert Kubica makes his mark on the Wall of Champions, the BMW leaving a trail of blue (and white) paintwork and rubber.

Kubica improves to second, just 0.136a shy of Raikkonen. Ironically, next time around, Heidfeld gives a tow to Hamilton which allows the McLaren driver to leapfrog his Polish teammate. That said, the Pole re-takes the top spot with a 16.023.

It's all over for Glock, who clouts one of the unforgiving Montreal walls - but not the wall - with the right-hand rear of his Toyota. The car is lifted to safety, but as it swings from the crane there are times when it looks as though the car might suffer more damage during its rescue than during the original incident.

With twenty minutes remaining, Raikkonen is back on track, on super-softs, hereinafter called softs. Massa is also on track, also on the softs. However, the Brazilian clearly has a problem, he slows down and pulls off to the side of the track on the approach to the hairpin.

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