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Alonso pips Massa in the closing seconds

NEWS STORY
31/10/2008

Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature is 17 degrees C, and the track temperature is 22 degrees. It remains unseasonably cold - this is Brazil for god's sake - but the rain has held off. It is overcast, horribly so.

Within second of the pitlane opening, there are 11 cars on track. Once the smoke has cleared, so to speak, Alonso tops the timesheets, ahead of Vettel and Heidfeld.

A 13.805 sees Kubica go quickest but he is soon leapfrogged by Webber and then Trulli.

Bourdais goes straight off at the first turn, appearing to turn the car to the right deliberately rather than follow the corner to the left. Elsewhere, there is an on-board camera on the BMW which gives the sort of view video game player will enjoy, a real 'drivers eye' shot.

It's a Toyota 1-2 as Glock goes quickest with a 13.201 ahead of his teammate. Kovalainen momentarily goes second with a 13.397 before he is bumped down by Webber.

Massa goes third with a 13.322, posting a 13.077 next time around to take the top spot.

Other than the obvious, there are at least two other World Champions here today, Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet. Both, no doubt, cheering for their countryman this weekend.

Trulli posts 12.999 to re-take the top spot as Raikkonen goes eighth with a 13.714. Elsewhere, Hamilton heads down the pitlane.

Hamilton goes sixth with a 13.284 as Massa tries, but fails to close the 0.007s gap to Trulli.

As Rosberg goes quickest (12.879), Hamilton locks up and then goes wide. Massa improves with a 12.923.

Alonso is back on track, one of the first drivers to run on the soft option. Nonetheless, rather than improve on ninth, he slips down to tenth.

Another big off for Bourdais, and again it is at the first corner, the car not seeming to want to turn left.

Trulli goes quickest with a 12.670 as we get another 'drivers eye' shot, this time courtesy of David Coulthard in the 'Wings for Life' car.

Hamilton loses time behind one of the Renaults, but it's hard to see whether it's Alonso or Piquet. Honest!

Coulthard goes third, as Kovalainen begins a flying lap on the soft compound.

Waved on by the partisan crowd, Massa (med) is up on Trulli at the first split. He's 0.037s up at the second, finally crossing the line at 12.569 to go quickest by 0.101s.

Trulli (soft) responds by going quickest in the first sector, and then again in the second. The Italian finally crosses the line at 12.435, elsewhere, a big, big slide for Webber.

Thirty two minutes into the session, a couple of guys on the pit-wall hold out their hands, as if feeling for rain. Elsewhere, Massa (soft) goes quickest in the first sector. Though he fails to post fastest times in sectors two and three, he crosses the line at 12.353 to take the top spot.

Vettel goes third with a 12.687, as Piquet improves one place to fifteenth.

Rosberg is warned that rain expected. Indeed, even as he is told it begins to fall, Race Control almost instantly declaring it a wet session. Funny enough, the rain begins to fall at virtually the same time as it fell this morning, 40 minutes into the session.

Watching Coulthard in the 'Wings for Life' livery, one cannot help but think back to the row back in 1999 when BAR wanted to run two liveries, one for 555 and the other for Lucky Strike.

For the third time this afternoon, Bourdais gets it hopelessly wrong at the first corner.

On board with Barrichello, who, like Vettel, is sporting a new helmet design. Then again, this weekend could be his last F1 outing.

With forty minutes remaining, it's: Massa, Trulli, Vettel, Rosberg, Nakajima, Coulthard, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Glock and Hamilton.

A nice slide form Glock, who despite the drizzle on the other side of the track, continues on softs. Indeed, Vettel also comes very close to improving on third, and he too is on softs.

As Webber goes wide, Hamilton (soft) leaves the McLaren garage.

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