26 Sep 2008
Practice Two - Alonso at the 11th hour
McLarens Lewis Hamilton set the pace almost all the way through Friday evenings second session of practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, only to be pipped at the post by his old adversary, Fernando Alonso.
Hamilton was deposed briefly by Ferraris Felipe Massa, whose 1m 45.793s bettered the Englishmans 1m 45.805s, then pushed ahead again with 1m 45.752s. That appeared to have settled the issue in McLarens favour, but right at the end Alonso took his Renault round in 1m 45.654s to beat him by 0.098s.
Hamilton remained fastest overall on the strength of the 1m 45.518s he recorded in the first session, but either way it was a great way to end a day on which Formula One made history by running under floodlights, and which was adjudged almost universally to be a tremendous success.
Heikki Kovalainen was right with the top three on 1m 45.797s in the second McLaren, but Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari was only seventh on 1m 46.580s. In between them came on-form Nico Rosberg in the Williams (1m 46.164s) and Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber (1m 46.384s).
Jenson Buttons strong form from the first session carried over when he took the eighth-fastest time for Honda with 1m 46.901s, ahead of Williams Kazuki Nakajima (1m 47.013s), and Toyotas Timo Glock (1m 47.046s).
Outside the top 10, Mark Webber made up a little for his first-session gaffe with 1m 47.137s for Red Bull, chased by Renaults Nelson Piquet (1m 47.145s), the Toro Rossos of Sebastian Vettel (1m 47.300s) and Sebastien Bourdais (1m 47.487s), Red Bulls David Coulthard (1m 47.640s), BMW Saubers Nick Heidfeld (1m 47.760s) and Force Indias Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 47.965s).
At the back, Rubens Barrichello was 18th for Honda on 1m 48.009s, ahead of Toyotas Jarno Trulli (1m 48.059s) and Force Indias Adrian Sutil (1m 48.311s).
Once again, there was plenty of action as drivers explored the limit of grip and/or coped with the bumps. Rosberg went down the escape road at Turn 18, as did Vettel and Nakajima (twice). The Monza winner also went up the escape road in Turn 7, as did Barrichello, while Piquet spun in Turn 16, Alonso missed the chicane, Heidfeld twice had a moment in Turn 2 and Bourdais went off the road in Turn 1 and later in Turn 18.
There was a moment of comedy when Massa got it wrong going into Turn 16 and headed down the escape road, where he appeared to become confused while trying to spin turn his Ferrari back on to the track.