Alonso Optimistic of Strong Weekend

Championship leader Fernando Alonso was optimistic of a strong weekend after finishing fourth fastest in today's second practice session for the French Grand Prix

Alonso Optimistic of Strong Weekend

But the Renault driver's day was made better after his main rival Kimi Raikkonen suffered a blown engine in second practice.

Alonso, winner of four races this season and runner-up in Magny-Cours last year, has won four of the nine Grands Prix, and leads the standings with 59 points to Raikkonen's 37.

The Spaniard, whose running was cut short by a cracked exhaust pipe in the afternoon, was pleased with how things went on the first day.

"We had a good balance on the car right from the start of the day, and we didn't change the set-up at all," said Alonso. "That's always a good way to start on Friday, because it means you can use your laps to test the tyres properly and work on other things.

"The biggest problem today was the wind, which made the handling quite unpredictable in the high-speed chicanes, and the car was not consistent lap to lap because of this. But overall, I think we look quite strong at the moment."

Italian teammate Giancarlo Fisichella was equally optimistic about Renault's chances at their home Grand Prix after posting the fifth fastest time.

"It was a good day for us - we are very pleased with our positions after second practice," he said. "I think we are in good shape for the weekend and even though we don't know our tyre choice yet, I think we can be optimistic regardless of which tyre we choose.

"I had some high-speed understeer in the car which we need to work on overnight but we are in a good position."

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