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Alonso quickest in second practice

Fernando Alonso, FerrariFernando Alonso delighted his home fans by posting the fastest time in second Friday practice for the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

The Spaniard made good use of a run with the softer Pirelli tyres to finish in first place with a time of 1m37.968s, the Ferrari driver outpacing McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by over two tenths of a second.

World champion and championship leader Sebastian Vettel had to settle for third place ahead of the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa, who completed a promising day for the Maranello squad.

McLaren's Jenson Button, struggling with the rear end of his car, finished in sixth, with this morning's pace-setter Mark Webber down in seventh over half a second behind Alonso.

Massa came close to matching the pace set by Webber in first practice right at the start of the afternoon session, the Brazilian moving to the top of times with a 1m40.857s, but he was outpaced by team-mate Alonso a moment later as the Spaniard posted the fastest time of the weekend up until that point - 1m40.492s.

Ferrari's dominance at the top of the times did not last long, however, as Vettel began to show his true pace following a low-key outing in FP1. At the 13-minute mark, the Red Bull driver shot to first place with a 1m40.062s, but then improved even further and got into the 1m39s on the third lap of his run.

Vettel returned to the pits after that, as team-mate Webber jumped to second place, some two tenths behind the reigning world champion. The Australian was relegated to third by Alonso, who joined Vettel into the 1m39s, but responded moments later and regained second by going 0.002 seconds slower than Vettel.

With 50 minutes left, Alonso looked set to move to first place, until he found a slow Narain Karthikeyan on the final corner, the Ferrari driver aborting his lap.

Nick Heidfeld was the first man to try the softer rubber with 40 minutes to go, the Renault driver making a 1.5-second improvement over his time with the medium tyres, moving to first place by nearly seven tenths of a second.

Heidfeld's moment in the sun last just a couple of minutes, however, as Webber also put on a set of soft tyres to post a 1m38.531s to go quickest ahead of Nico Rosberg, also on softs. Vettel was next up with the softer rubber, the world champion going fastest by 0.266 seconds over Webber.

Hamilton bettered Vettel's time in his first run with softs to jump to first place, but another driver on yellow PZeros, Alonso, topping that just a moment later.

The Spaniard continued to another lap and became the first driver to lap in the 1m37s to open a two-tenth gap to Hamilton and Vettel, second and third at the time.

Jaime Alguersuari was forced to sit out the session after his Toro Rosso car suffered a problem with his engine before the start.

Paul di Resta came close to following suit after Nico Hulkenberg damaged his car in the opening session. The Force India mechanics had to work frantically and di Resta finally hit the track with 10 minutes left.

Pos  Driver                Team                   Time               Laps
 1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m37.968s            35
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m38.195s  + 0.227   26
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m38.265s  + 0.297   31
 4.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m38.315s  + 0.347   30
 5.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m38.443s  + 0.475   32
 6.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m38.483s  + 0.515   30
 7.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m38.531s  + 0.563   26
 8.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m38.981s  + 1.013   33
 9.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                1m39.040s  + 1.072   35
10.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1m39.586s  + 1.618   27
11.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1m39.626s  + 1.658   31
12.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1m40.020s  + 2.052   34
13.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1m40.301s  + 2.333   34
14.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m40.363s  + 2.395   7
15.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m40.454s  + 2.486   32
16.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m40.531s  + 2.563   37
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m42.083s  + 4.115   34
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1m42.156s  + 4.188   39
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1m42.239s  + 4.271   25
20.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1m42.273s  + 4.305   21
21.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1m42.809s  + 4.841   36
22.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           1m44.460s  + 6.492   29
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m46.906s  + 8.938   16

All Timing Unofficial
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