Alonso on top again as Practice 2 ends in confusion

Fernando Alonso was once again quickest for Ferrari as rain failed to disturb the second Belgium Free Practice session.

The Spaniard left it late to snatch top spot from the Force India of Adrian Sutil, with Lewis Hamilton third for McLaren.

As the session opened to a drying track, drivers quickly ventured out on intermediates, in an attempt to get as much running as possible.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa led the way early on, but his time was soon eclipsed by team-mate Alonso who first matched his time set in the morning and then bettered it by 0.3 of a second – breaking into the 1 minute 59 second barrier.

However, Ferrari’s stranglehold of the times was soon broken by Lewis Hamilton who, on his first run on intermediates, smashed his champions rival’s time by nine hundredths of the second.

Initially it looked as though Hamilton could not have timed it better, as shortly after he crossed the line a light sprinkling of rain began to fall.

The changing conditions ultimately caught out a number of drivers with Virgin’s Timo Glock forced out of the session when he crashed sideways into the barriers at turn 9. In addition the Force India of Tonio Liuzzi suffered a broken front wing, when it skidded across the gravel and into the tyre wall at Rivage. However, unlike the hapless Glock, the Italian managed to return to the circuit and circle back to the pits.

Despite these moments, the rain eventually failed to materialise in to anything substantial – allowing a dry line to form as drivers continued to pound around the circuit.

As the intermediate tyres began to suffer excessive graining, Jaime Alguersuari was the first driver to switch to slick tyres – a move which was eventually followed by all of the remaining competitors.

Although the session was not blighted by the heavy rain which featured in the morning, drivers were still delayed when race control red flagged the session in the final fifteen minutes after it emerged that spectators were in an unsafe position.

Subsequently, this would prove a source of great frustration to the teams, who saw their chances of valuable dry running slipping away.

The situation was further compounded with four minutes to go when the pit lane light malfunctioned, despite the session having been restarted – leaving drivers stranded in the pit lane.

However, undeterred by the delay, Fernando Alonso led out the gaggle of cars for a final run around the circuit and dully snatched the fastest time from Adrian Sutil by just over a tenth of a second.

The session did not go to plan for Red Bull Racing, which both drivers suffering problems throughout the 90-minute session. While Sebastian Vettel (sixth) was forced to wait in the pits as mechanics frantically worked on the right rear of his RB6, Mark Webber was forced to creep down to Eau Rouge with an expected engine issue.

Although the problem did not appear terminal, the Australian could not improve in the dying minutes of the session and was forced to languish in eighteenth.

Pos Driver      Team                 Time      Gap    Laps
1.  Alonso      Ferrari              1:49.032         25
2.  Sutil       Force India-Mercedes 1:49.157  0.125  17
3   Hamilton    McLaren-Mercedes     1:49.248  0.216  14
4   Kubica 	Renault              1:49.282  0.250  20
5.  Massa 	Ferrari              1:49.588  0.556  23
6.  Vettel 	RBR-Renault          1:49.689  0.657  19
7.  Button 	McLaren-Mercedes     1:49.755  0.723  20
8.  de la Rosa 	BMW Sauber-Ferrari   1:50.081  1.049  27
9.  Barrichello Williams-Cosworth    1:50.128  1.096  22
10. Kobayashi 	BMW Sauber-Ferrari   1:50.200  1.168  24
11. Petrov 	Renault              1:50.251  1.219  24
12. Schumacher 	Mercedes GP          1:50.341  1.309  23
13. Rosberg 	Mercedes GP          1:50.382  1.350  21
14. Alguersuari STR-Ferrari          1:50.682  1.650  25
15. Hulkenberg 	Williams-Cosworth    1:50.831  1.799  20
16. Liuzzi      Force India-Mercedes 1:51.520  2.488  17
17. Buemi       STR-Ferrari          1:51.523  2.491  25
18. Webber      RBR-Renault          1:51.636  2.604  19
19. Kovalainen  Lotus-Cosworth 	     1:53.480  4.448  15
20. Trulli      Lotus-Cosworth       1:53.639  4.607  21
21. di Grassi   Virgin-Cosworth      1:54.325  5.293  17
22. Senna       HRT-Cosworth         1:55.751  6.719  24
23. Yamamoto    HRT-Cosworth         1:56.039  7.007  21
24. Glock       Virgin-Cosworth      2:03.179  14.147  3