Fernando Alonso took advantage of a dry Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to post the fastest time on day one of the Canadian Grand Prix meeting in second practice.

With the first 90 minutes of track action having been run on a wet or damp surface, the afternoon session was always likely to be quicker of the two and, almost immediately, the pace was ramped up.

Alonso eventually came out on top of a close-fought session, where the top twelve drivers were covered by a single second, but was just 0.012secs ahead of Lewis Hamilton when the rain, albeit lighter than before, returned to the St Lawrence Seaway. With no improvements in the last ten minutes, however, the Spaniard was able to maintain top spot, boosting Ferrari morale after a tough Monaco weekend and suggesting, after a session-high 48 laps, that its latest development upgrades have made a positive difference to the F138.

Having not set a time on the 'development' Pirelli slicks in FP1, Hamilton was happy to be able to work through all three opening day compounds on offer, eventually setting his best time on the supersoft option.

While the top two spots changed between sessions, third place again fell to Romain Grosjean, the Frenchman remaining consistent despite a couple of off-track excursions - including one that saw him rejoin across the bows of Mark Webber as the Australian emerged from the pits.

Webber would wind up following Grosjean in the standings, lapping a tenth slower than the Lotus pilot, with Nico Rosberg fifth for Mercedes. The German was closely matched by Felipe Massa, the Ferrari driver living up to his claim that neither his form or confidence had been knocked by the two accidents he suffered in Monaco two weeks ago.

While just 0.05secs split Rosberg and Massa, world champion Sebastian Vettel was only a matter of tenths slower than the Brazilian but, as Red Bull team-mate Webber pointed out, there are so many things that need to be factored in around the Ile Notre Dame, the times can be misleading.

Despite both running out of track on occasion, the Red Bull pair matched Ferrari among the best in terms of long-run pace, while Mercedes' perceived advantage appeared less potent than expected, despite Hamilton's position.

Behind Vettel, Adrian Sutil, Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten, the Force India driver having survived a vault over the revised chicane kerbs that saw all four wheels clear of the ground. Sutil's team-mate was not quite so fortunate, however, Paul di Resta unable to repeat his table-topping FP1 performance after reporting fuel pick-up issues that ultimately consigned him to the garage. The Scot would wind up 13th fastest, 1.037secs off the pace.

Button, too, ended his day in the pits, while Caterham's Giedo van der Garde also needed attention during the session, contributing to him propping up the table behind Jules Bianchi, Charles Pic and Max Chilton. Pastor Maldonado, meanwhile, was able to return to the fray after ending the morning session in the barriers, eventually taking 14th slot.


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