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Hamilton fastest in practice 2 - Australia

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in Friday's afternoon practice for the Australian Grand Prix by a comfortable margin of 0.9 seconds, while local hero Mark Webber took a surprise second place for Red Bull

Morning pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen was content to spend most of the session working on longer runs, and ended up only sixth fastest in his Ferrari, although his time from session one remained the quickest of the day.

Felipe Massa took third for Ferrari despite a wild spin late on, with McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen fourth and David Coulthard confirming Red Bull's potential with fifth position.

Webber occupied the top spot for the majority of the session, having hit the front after half an hour when he produced a 1:27.614 lap to beat Hamilton's initial benchmark by 0.128 seconds. The Australian then went faster still a quarter of an hour later, improving to 1:27.473.

The big names tried and failed to beat it, even when on soft tyres - although their slower laptimes relative to this morning's session suggested that heavier fuel loads were now being carried.

Massa moved up to second position, then had to abandon a subsequent effort after running very wide on the exit of Turn 12. The Ferrari eventually looped into a spin across the gravel, but missed the wall and was able to rejoin and cruise back to the pits.

Both McLarens also came close to Webber's time only to fall short, but then in the final minute of the session Hamilton improved his time by over a second, producing a 1:26.559 to end the afternoon on top.

Jarno Trulli had looked set for fifth place for Toyota until he put a wheel on the grass under braking for Turn 3 with 10 minutes remaining and spun into the gravel. He managed to hold on to seventh as others improved.

Williams put their troubled morning behind them to take eighth place with Nico Rosberg, although his teammate Kazuki Nakajima could only manage 16th.

Force India had a promising afternoon, with both cars in the top ten early on and Giancarlo Fisichella leaping into ninth with his last run.

Timo Glock completed the top ten for Toyota, ahead of Honda's Jenson Button, Nick Heidfeld in the fastest of the BMWs, and Fernando Alonso, who slipped right back to 13th for Renault having been in the top six this morning.

Many drivers visited the gravel traps and grass run-off areas as they acclimatised to the dusty track without traction control and assisted engine braking.

Heidfeld, Adrian Sutil, Coulthard, Nakajima, Rosberg, Fisichella, Alonso and Takuma Sato all went off the road at least once, but managed to continue without drama.

Pos  Driver        Team                     Time              Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:26.559           33
 2.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:27.473  + 0.914  27
 3.  Massa         Ferrari             (B)  1:27.640  + 1.081  29
 4.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:27.683  + 1.124  28
 5.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:28.037  + 1.478  26
 6.  Raikkonen     Ferrari             (B)  1:28.208  + 1.649  28
 7.  Trulli        Toyota              (B)  1:28.292  + 1.733  22
 8.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:28.352  + 1.793  31
 9.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari (B)  1:28.469  + 1.910  32
10.  Glock         Toyota              (B)  1:28.582  + 2.023  28
11.  Button        Honda               (B)  1:28.632  + 2.073  30
12.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber          (B)  1:28.731  + 2.172  32
13.  Alonso        Renault             (B)  1:28.779  + 2.220  37
14.  Barrichello   Honda               (B)  1:28.849  + 2.290  28
15.  Kubica        BMW Sauber          (B)  1:28.860  + 2.301  35
16.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:29.077  + 2.518  33
17.  Sutil         Force India-Ferrari (B)  1:29.161  + 2.602  32
18.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:29.193  + 2.634  40
19.  Piquet        Renault             (B)  1:29.518  + 2.959  14
20.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:29.605  + 3.046  11
21.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda   (B)  1:30.663  + 4.104  16
22.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda   (B)  1:31.527  + 4.968   8

All timing unofficial

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