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Alonso takes updated Ferrari to the top of the times
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Alonso takes updated Ferrari to the top of the times
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jun 2010   |  12:02 am GMT  |  14 comments

Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in the second practice session for Sunday’s European Grand Prix at Valencia in the updated Ferrari, ahead of the Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Nico Rosberg was fourth in the Mercedes ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso's on it in Valencia (Darren Heath)


It was close at the front with four tenths of a second separating the first four drivers and all the indications are that this is going to be a very closely fought weekend, as the top four teams, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Renault close in on Red Bull.

There are quite a few updates on the cars with several teams bringing in blown diffusers, similar to Red Bull’s. This is effectively a diffuser which benefits from exhaust gases passing through. Mercedes has one this weekend, as do Renault, Williams and Ferrari.

Bridgestone has the super soft and medium tyres this weekend and, as in Montreal, they were graining quite severely in the early running. The tyres were lasting little more than a couple of laps before the performance dropped off. This is due to the many acceleration events on the low grip dusty circuit, so basically the wheels spin and it sheers the rubber of the surface of the tyre. As the day wore on and the rubber went down on the track and the dust lifted, the lap times came down significantly.

It is not anticipated that the tyres, which are the same choices as Montreal, will struggle as they did there. The track improvement today and the higher temperatures suggest this.

Alonso set his time early in a six lap run, whereas Vettel set his time at the end of an eight lap run, so it’s hard to compare the times as the tyre condition and fuel loads were different.

Although Alonso set the pace, Felipe Massa lost time in FP2 when he spun and stalled his car. The Brazilian looked less comfortable with the car than his Spanish team mate on the first day.

* Be sure to have a go at our prediction competition in an earlier post. Guess the margin between Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi in qualifying at Valencia and in whose favour and win two top grandstand tickets for the British GP on 10 & 11 July.

EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX, Valencia, Friday Practice
1. Alonso Ferrari 1m39.283s 33
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.339s + 0.056s 27
3. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.427s + 0.144s 29
4. Rosberg Mercedes 1m39.650s + 0.367s 22
5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.749s + 0.466s 24
6. Kubica Renault 1m39.880s + 0.597s 28
7. Massa Ferrari 1m39.947s + 0.664s 22
8. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m40.020s + 0.737s 30
9. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.029s + 0.746s 27
10. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m40.174s + 0.891s 33
11. Schumacher Mercedes 1m40.287s + 1.004s 24
12. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1m40.387s + 1.104s 33
13. Petrov Renault 1m40.618s + 1.335s 29
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.906s + 1.623s 34
15. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.945s + 1.662s 30
16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.115s + 1.832s 35
17. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1m41.371s + 2.088s 30
18. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.457s + 2.174s 36
19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1m42.467s + 3.184s 31
20. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1m42.993s + 3.710s 30
21. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m43.811s + 4.528s 14
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1m43.854s + 4.571s 27
23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1m44.095s + 4.812s 24
24. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1m44.566s + 5.283s 21

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14 Comments
  1. n. Machiavelli says:

    “…so basically the wheels spin and it sheers the rubber…”

    The appropriate word here is not “sheers”, but “shears”.

    The word shear would be correct both in layperson’s terms ( “sheared off” ) and engineering parlance ( e.g. shear loading, shear strength, etc . ).

    The season thus far has been one of the most enjoyable in recent years, and this blog has a large part in that, for me. A hearty thanks and a tip of the hat to Mr. James Allen !

  2. Let’s hope that this is Alonso’s return to winning ways!

    1. sixtenths says:

      Why ?

      He has looked less and less good all year, Massa is often beating him, he is resorting to underhand and nasty moves to beat Felipe and it appears he foolishly left his super fantastic El Magico sixtenths of a second superhuman advantage in his McLaren locker for Lewis to use for evermore.

      Still, to some he is “the favourite” and he himself says the pressure makes him better. It needs to, he is looking rather ordinary right now. This is because he is fundamentally just not as good as some so desperately want him to be.

  3. Paul Kirk says:

    The track sure seemed to have a lot of dust on it early on, which took a long time to disapate, you’d think the organisers or FIA would be able to vacuum, blow, or sweep the track so it would be suitable to use. ( Like NASCAR does). It seems pretty unfair on the slower teams to be expected to go out on a dirty track just to clean it up for the quicker guys. (And stuf up their tyres in the process!)
    PK.

  4. olavs silis says:

    Great piic
    Glock by .972

  5. Harvey Yates says:

    Another great performance by Sutil. He continues to impress. And similarly brilliant work by Force India, the surprise team of 2010, at least for me. And both driver and car seem to improve at each race.

    I know you can read too much into the first day’s figures but then, with the 107% rule, isn’t that what those teams at the back will be able to do?

    By my calculations, 107% of 1.39.283 is, to the nearest 1000th, 1.46.233. Chandock, running 24th, did a 1.44.566, so much inside the limit as to make it a nonsense. Senna had all but half a second on him.

    (Please, Machiavelli, don’t check these figures.)

    How about a 101% rule for team mates? That would then eliminate the drivers who don’t know what they are doing, surely the bigger hazard.

    From what I’ve seen this season such a rule would be just window dressing.

  6. patrick(uk) says:

    How come it has taken 8 Grand Prix races for the other teams to realize that Red bull exhaust system was the key to its madly fast machine? THEY should have taken notice when Red bull went to great lengths to disguise the exhaust by using an elaborate sticker photograph that seemed to indicate the exhaust system was pointing upwards as usual and yet it was NOT.
    With these developments coming fast from other teams i do not see any clear winner for the championship and it will go down the wire.
    we will have 5 or 6 drivers within points for championship decider come the last race and some people will cry real tears at the end of it.
    ANY mistakes made from this race at Valencia and after wards may put a teams championship hopes beyond salvage.

  7. Formula Zero says:

    It’s not or never for Ferrari and Alonso. Still early days, but Ferrari seem to be bringing quite effective updates for this Grand Prix. My prediction is that Ferrari will leapfrog McLaren in the championship, not sure about Red Bull though.

    Don’t understand why Massa is so far off the pace. Tyres & strategies will be key for all the top teams surely. Super soft will be graining quite a bit and pretty early in the race.

    Canadian grand prix was pretty entertaining. That was the first Canadian Grand Prix I have ever seen without a single safety car. Let’s hope the European Grand Prix would be more entertaining.

  8. Andy C says:

    James,
    isn’t this season shaping up to be one of the closest for years.
    We are seeing redbull mclaren merc and Ferrari in a super fast development race. It is going to be really close.
    Come on jenson and lewis! Can’t wait for the upgrade at silverstone!

  9. chris scott says:

    Anyone know when McLaren are getting the blown diffuser

    1. sixtenths says:

      Silverstone, widely reported.

      I wonder about the delay, maybe the F Duct is hard to get right, does it’s effect interfere with the “Blown Exhaust” ? Maybe some engineers need to be seen to be bolting one on, even if they have not got it right and possibly just as part of the smoke and mirrors of F1 tech.

      99% of Internet posters do not seem to understand 1% the complexity of Aero, let alone the whole car/packaging. Few things just get “bolted on”.

  10. Kedar says:

    James I heard that the exhaust diffuser can get the rear suspension pretty hot. Does it mean that this week the Ferrari wont be that “easy” on its tyres?

  11. Anil says:

    Kubica looking like a dark horse, he’s been mighty all weekend!

    Surprised to see Michael so far back :/

    1. Tim says:

      If Kubica can come around and lap MS then he can watch how the car works, because it will be his seat next year :)

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