Fernando Alonso posted the fastest time in the second practice session for the 2013 Formula 1 Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver ran 1:14.818 to finish 0.012s ahead of Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes. Lotus-Renault's Romain Grosjean appears to have recovered completely from a disastrous weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago; the Frenchman posted 1:15.083 to finish third on Friday afternoon.
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Red Bull's Mark Webber was fourth, 0.394s off Alonso's pace. Hamilton's team mate and the dominant winner at Monte Carlo in the last race, Nico Rosberg, rounded out the top five. The second Ferrari of Felipe Massa was sixth with 1:15.254 and defending world champion Sebastian Vettel was seventh. Force India's Adrian Sutil, McLaren's Jenson Button and Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten.
The first session began on a damp note, with rainfall prior to the start and standing water on parts of the track. The second session benefitted from improved weather conditions. Temperatures remained below the 20C mark but the skies were clear and despite forecasts of a 20 percent chance of rain, the session was dry.
As in the first session, Sauber driver Esteban Guttierez was first out on track. A flood of drivers followed the Mexican, with only Vettel and Massa opting to remain in the pits. All the drivers, with the exception of Giedo van der Garde, ran Pirelli's experimental medium compound in the opening stages.
Raikkonen and Webber set the early pace, with the latter's 1:18.516 the benchmark. The two then traded fastest laps in what was a chaotic opening ten minutes. Vettel then switched to standard medium compounds but appeared to struggle.
Force India's Paul di Resta, the hero from the first session, went fastest with 1:16.382. Massa posted an extremely quick time too, with replays showing the Brazilian right on the edge and brushing the concrete wall at points.
Less than 30 minutes into the session and van der Garde made the switch to the supersoft compounds and was swiftly followed by Vettel, Perez, Raikkonen and Webber. The German posted 1:15.378 and improved to his final time of 1:15.280. There were a few drops of rain towards the end of the session but by that time most drivers were engaged in long runs.
For the full timesheet of the second practice session, click here.
The third and final practice session is scheduled for 3pm BST on Saturday afternoon. The qualifying session is scheduled for 6pm BST on the same day. The race will be on Sunday afternoon at 7pm BST. Click here for information on where to watch the qualifying session live.