Practice 2: Alonso sets the pace

Fernando Alonso continued Renault's strong weekend by setting the fastest time in the first of this morning's (Saturday's) two practice sessions for the Hungarian Grand Prix. However, Ferrari showed that it has the pace to mix it with the French manufacturer, with Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello second and third fastest

Practice 2: Alonso sets the pace

The session was marked by a huge crash for Jordan's Ralph Firman (see separate story), which caused a delay of over half an hour as repairs were conducted on the turn five crash barrier.

Once the session was restarted, an intriguing battle developed between Renault and Ferrari, as first Barrichello and then Jarno Trulli claimed the fastest time. But in the end it was Alonso who emerged the pacesetter, with his best lap of 1m22.950s set in the final moments of the session a full 0.324s clear of Schumacher.

Ralf Schumacher led briefly early on, but faded to fourth at the end, ahead of Trulli in the second Renault. Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) was sixth, ahead of Olivier Panis (Toyota) and Mark Webber (Jaguar). The Sauber pairing of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Nicked Heidfeld continued the Swiss team's strong weekend by rounding out the top ten.

Once again, the dirty track caught out several runners who dared to waver from the racing line. Alonso was the first to take a trip across the gravel trap, whilst Ralf Schumacher required a push from the marshals after embedding himself in the gravel trap following a spin at the chicane. David Coulthard (McLaren) blotted his copybook with a spin in turn two in the final moments of the session.

Aside from DC's spin, McLaren had a very quiet session, with Kimi Raikkonen and the Scot only 12th and 13th fastest respectively, and approaching two seconds off the pace of the front-runners.

Jenson Button was 14th, once again faster than BAR team-mate Jacques Villeneuve, who could only manage the 17th quickest time. Cristiano da Matta was 15th, which will be very disappointing for the Brazilian given Toyota's pace yesterday.

Giancarlo Fisichella was 16th fastest, although Jordan decided not to run the Italian following Firman's crash until the team could examine the rear wing asembly and mountings in detail.

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