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Formula 1: Barrichello and Alonso top timesheets at European GP Friday Practice

Friday Practice 1

Rubens Barrichello of the Brawn team was fastest in this this morning's first practice in Valencia for Sunday's Grand Prix, with a time of 1:42.460.

His teammate Jenson Button managed 4th place with a time of 1:43.074.

It was also the first time that veteran test driver Luca Badoer was able to drive this year's Ferrari, the test driver replacing the injured Felipe Massa for the forseeable future. The second débutant driving the car for the first time is Frenchman Romain Grosjean, replacing the sacked Nelson Piquet Jr..

Temperatures at the track were high, with air temperature reaching 33°C, resulting in an elevated track temperature, certainly when compared to Hungary - which this season had tended to favour the Brawn team.

Speculation was mounting throughout the free practice sessions with regards to driver line-ups for the 2010 season, with Mclaren team principle Martin Whitmarsh stating "we all know that Fernando Alonso's move to Ferrari will have a ripple effect on other teams. It opens up the driver market. We are not in talks with any other drivers at the moment, but are obliged to have the most competitive cars and drivers that we can", in reply to a question from BBC Five Live Sports Extra's reporter asking if the team had plans to replace Heikki Kovalainen.

McLaren's return to form in Hungary following a poor start to the season appears not to just be a one-off, with Lewis Hamilton posting consistent times throughout practice, ending up 3rd, only two tenths of a second off Barrichello's time.

Towards the bottom of the timesheet there were no surprises; after only one and a half hours in the car, the "rookies" Grosjean and Alguersuari, as well as replacement driver Badoer. Toyota also failed to impress, Trulli and Glock posting the 18th- and 19th-fastest times.

Friday Practice 2

Fernando Alonso was seven tenths of a second clear in second free practice in Valencia for Sunday's Grand Prix, with a time of 1:39.404.

His rookie team mate, Romain Grosjean only managed 13th place (1:40.787), over a second slower.

Massa replacement Luca Badoer continued to make progress in the Ferrari, managing a 2-place improvement on first practice, posting the 18th fastest time. (1:42.017).

Rubens Barrichello was out to prove that his speed in the morning session was not a one-off, and posted the third fastest time overall (1:40.209), however his team mate Jenson Button was quicker this time out (1:40.178).

Toyota drivers Trulli and Glock improved on disappointing times this morning, finishing the session 12th and 15th respectively. Lewis Hamilton failed to post a competitive time (1:43.214) having only completed 3 flying laps.

The next session will be free practice on Saturday, at 11:00 CET.

First Practice Times Second Practice Times
Pos No Nation. Name Constructor Time
1 23   Rubens Barrichello Brawn 1:42.460
2 2   Heikki Kovalainen McLaren 1:42.636
3 1   Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:42.654
4 22   Jenson Button Brawn 1:43.074
5 15   Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:43.088
6 20   Adrian Sutil Force India 1:43.209
7 17   Kazuki Nakajima Williams 1:43.225
8 14   Mark Webber Red Bull 1:43.243
9 7   Fernando Alonso Renault 1:43.345
10 4   Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:43.384
11 12   Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:43.389
12 5   Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:43.419
13 11   Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:43.637
14 16   Nico Rosberg Williams 1:43.746
15 6   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:44.040
16 21   Giancarlo Fisichella Force India 1:44.126
17 8   Romain Grosjean Renault 1:44.356
18 9   Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:44.638
19 10   Timo Glock Toyota 1:44.732
20 3   Luca Badoer Ferrari 1:45.840
Pos No Nation. Name Constructor Time
1 7   Fernando Alonso Renault 1:39.404
2 22   Jenson Button Brawn 1:40.178
3 23   Rubens Barrichello Brawn 1:40.209
4 16   Nico Rosberg Williams 1:40.385
5 17   Kazuki Nakajima Williams 1:40.503
6 20   Adrian Sutil Force India 1:40.596
7 5   Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:40.643
8 21   Giancarlo Fisichella Force India 1:40.681
9 15   Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:40.723
10 2   Heikki Kovalainen McLaren 1:40.738
11 4   Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:40.739
12 9   Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:40.770
13 8   Romain Grosjean Renault 1:40.787
14 14   Mark Webber Red Bull 1:40.956
15 10   Timo Glock Toyota 1:40.985
16 12   Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:41.156
17 6   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:41.350
18 3   Luca Badoer Ferrari 1:42.017
19 11   Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:42.089
20 1   Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:43.214

Sources