Practice 2: Alonso sets pace for Renault

Renault's Fernando Alonso topped a see-saw opening practice session on Saturday morning for the French Grand Prix, which also featured Ferrari and Williams at the top of the times during the 45-minute period

Practice 2: Alonso sets pace for Renault

Michael Schumacher set the pace early in the session, although his both Ralf soon took over at the top of the time-sheets. But Spaniard Alonso found pace when it counted, setting a fastest lap of 1m16.076s with just five minutes to go, to give Renault something to cheer on home soil.

The drama wasn't over yet, as Rubens Barrichello began to threaten Alonso's time. He might well have beaten it, but he ran wide at the Adelaide hairpin on what was, until that point, his fastest lap.

Several other drivers had off-track moments during the session. Michael Schumacher ran wide and went off at the chicane early on, although he managed to keep his car on the concrete run-off and escape without damage.

David Coulthard had a more dramatic moment, launching his car on the inside of the final chicane. This caused him to run off the track on the corner's exit, where he came mightily close to crashing heavily into a concrete wall.

After losing out in the damp conditions yesterday, the Michelin tyres looked to have a clear advantage over those of rival Bridgestone. Aside from the Ferrari duo in second and fourth, the next fastest car using the Japanese firm's tyres was Jenson Button's BAR in 12th, although the Briton's running was hampered by an engine failure which occurred shortly after the end of the session.

Jaguar's Antonio Pizzonia was the only Michelin runner to break the Bridgestone stranglehold on the bottom nine of the timesheets. The Brazilian looked ragged for much of the session, and at one point managed to go off at two corners in a row! He first ran off the track at Imola, and was then so busy wrestling his car back under control that he forgot to turn in for the next corner, Cheateau d'Eau.

Normal service was resumed for Minardi after the team's shock performance in first qualifying. On a dry track, Jos Verstappen could only manage 19th fastest, with only his team-mate Justin Wilson behind him.

shares
comments
Minardi Dreaming after Freakish Qualifying
Previous article

Minardi Dreaming after Freakish Qualifying

Next article

Saturday First Free Practice - French GP

Saturday First Free Practice - French GP
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022
How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir Plus

How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir

He’s fast, he’s smart, and he’s already shown he’s not going to let Max Verstappen intimidate him. George Russell won’t say it, but LUKE SMITH says he’s ready to take the lead at Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton moves on to a quieter life. And – whisper it – Mercedes and Lewis are starting to think so too

Formula 1
Aug 5, 2022
The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move Plus

The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move

Fernando Alonso’s bombshell switch to Aston Martin sent shockwaves through Formula 1, not least at Alpine that finds itself tangled in a contract standoff with Oscar Piastri. Not shy of a bold career move and with a CV punctuated by them, there were numerous hints that trouble was brewing

Formula 1
Aug 4, 2022
The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships Plus

The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships

OPINION: Ferrari's Formula 1 title hopes look all but over after another strategic blunder in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix denied Charles Leclerc the chance to fight for victory, while handing it to chief rival Max Verstappen. The Scuderia now faces intense scrutiny over what it must now do to finally become a genuine factor in championship battles

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2022
The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans revealed after Vettel’s decision Plus

The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans revealed after Vettel’s decision

OPINION: Sebastian Vettel is set to leave Formula 1 at the end of 2022 and will, rather shockingly, be replaced by Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin. But what about the final chapter of the other driver that defined the post-Michael Schumacher era? In Hungary, Lewis Hamilton spoke about his future in the context of Vettel’s upcoming departure, which offered clues on how long it will last

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022