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Hamilton rules in second session

NEWS STORY
18/07/2008

Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature is 21 degrees C, and the track temperature is 23 degrees. There was a slight shower after the end of the first session, but for the most part the track has dried out, with just a few minor damp patches remaining.

The lights go green, and first out is Sebastien Bourdais, closely followed by his Toro Rosso teammate. Kubica, who went off this morning after losing control on one of the painted white lines, is another driver keen to resume work.

Michael Schumacher arrived a little while ago, and is now watching the action from the pit-wall.

Vettel goes quickest (17.142), but Rosberg has already gone quickest in the first two sectors. As Hamilton begins his first flying lap of the afternoon, finally crossing the line at 17.354 to go second.

Hamilton goes wide at the entry to the stadium, however, the on-board replay shows he was forced wide by Bourdais on the inside. The Englishman looks across at his French rival but there is no gesture.

Next time around, Hamilton goes quickest, with Kovalainen making it a McLaren 1-2. Massa heads down the pitlane. Elsewhere, Barrichello spins 360 degrees, right in front of one of the Red Bulls.

Massa goes fifth, then improves to second (16.781), as Heidfeld goes third. Only Raikkonen and Nakajima haven't posted a time. That said, both drivers are now on track.

A 16.572 sees Raikkonen go third, however, next time around the Finn gets all out of shape at Turn 14 and goes wide.

Tyre options this weekend are 'hard' and 'medium', which we will refer to as 'hard' and 'soft'.

Raikkonen goes wide again, this time at the final corner. The super-slow-mo cameras here capture the moment perfectly. Elsewhere, Vettel goes third.

As Kovalainen attempts to improve on fifth, Nakajima watches from the pit-wall, the Japanese driver yet to post a time in this session. Clearly, there is a problem with his car.

Massa is on a good lap, and by the second split is 0.159s up on Hamilton. Despite a strong third sector, the Ferrari driver can do no better than close to within 0.009s of the McLaren driver.

A big spin for Barrichello as he exits the first corner. Meanwhile, despite continually posting fastest first sectors, Massa is unable to topple Hamilton from the top spot.

A 16.333 sees Kovalainen improve to fourth, though he remains 0.516s off his teammate's benchmark time. Talking of Hamilton, the Englishman does well to control his car after is snaps viciously away at the final corner. Well held that man!

Shortly afterwards, Glock goes off at the same place as Hamilton. The super-slow-mo cameras shows just how nasty his excursion was, his car almost taking flight.

Virtually unnoticed, Raikkonen takes third with a 16.045.

At halftime, it's: Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen, Kovalainen, Kubica, Vettel, Rosberg, Trulli, Heidfeld and Alonso.

Kubica complains of massive understeer, as Kovalainen heads down the pitlane on softs. Elsewhere, Rosberg locks up and takes a trip across the German countryside.

With just over thirty minutes remaining, Kazuki Nakajima drives out of the Williams garage. Also on track is Hamilton, now running on softs.

Massa (softs) goes quickest, the Brazilian posting 15.722. Despite going quickest in the second sector of his next lap he fails to improve again.

The two corners that continue to cause problems are Turn 12 (Mobil) the entrance to the stadium, and Turn 17 (Sudkurve) the corner at the start of the pit straight.

Ross Brawn watches impassively as Button improves to eleventh with a 16.542.

Webber, surprisingly off the pace this afternoon, improves from nineteenth to seventeenth.

With just over fifteen minutes remaining, more and more drivers switch to softs.

Another driver off the pace today is Alonso, while Nakajima remains nineteenth, 1.2s off his teammate's best.

Kovalainen improves but remains fourth, 0.268s off his teammate's pace.

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