World champion Fernando Alonso moved to the top of the timesheets as the Formula One group test at Silverstone headed into its second day.

Alonso ended the day ahead of team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella as the Renault pair worked on set-up changes during the morning and focused on tyre development with Michelin during the afternoon.

Despite small mechanical problems occurring towards the end of the day, chief test engineer Christian Silk declared himself pleased with the day as the defending champions continued preparing for the British Grand Prix.

"The weather conditions were much better today," he said. "We obtained good results and the drivers were very pleased with the car and its behaviour. We will continue our programme tomorrow for our last day at Silverstone."

The final day of the test will see Fisichella joined by on track by Heikki Kovalainen.

Behind the two Renault drivers, Jenson Button was third quickest for Honda, completing well over 100 laps, while Juan Pablo Montoya, who had posted the quickest time on Tuesday, was fourth as he was joined at the test by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

With improved weather from yesterday, the track conditions allowed McLaren to focus on Michelin tyre selection, with the programme based on the Silverstone race. Both Montoya and Raikkonen completed a series of short runs during the day as different compounds and set-ups were evaluated, with the Colombian lapping slightly quicker in a best time of 1min 19.395secs.

Raikkonen ended the day under two tenths of a second behind in fifth place, despite being forced to finish his running early due to a hydraulic problem, with the second Honda of Rubens Barrichello sixth.

Scott Speed lived up to his name by going seventh quickest for Scuderia Toro Rosso, with Mark Webber eighth for Williams and Robert Kubica emerging from the day as the leading BMW-Sauber driver in ninth place, even though the Polish driver wasn't meant to take to the track on the second day of the test. Race driver Nick Heidfeld has started the day in the car but after suffering a muscle twinge during the morning, the decision was taken to let the German driver sit out the rest of the day - his fastest time good enough for 14th place.

While the pair completed a programme focused on set-up work and tyre testing between them, Jacques Villeneuve concentrated on aerodynamic work in the morning and dampers and a short tyre test in the afternoon - the Canadian posting the eleventh quickest time and sandwiching Nico Rosberg in the second Williams in ninth.

As was the case on the opening day of the test, it was a trying day for Red Bull Racing with David Coulthard only completing 25 laps and Vitantonio Liuzzi crashing at high-speed, although the Italian escaped injury [see separate story].

Behind Heidfeld, Tiago Monteiro completed the timesheets as he took over from Giorgio Mondini at the wheel of the lone MF1-Toyota.

"We had a productive session today, running through a complete programme," the Portuguese driver said. "We went through an interesting tyre test in the morning with many different sets. In the afternoon, we did some setup work and tested some updates to the car. Overall, it was a positive day and we are working hard to find more speed."

Testing concludes at Silverstone tomorrow.

Leading times (26 April) - Silverstone:

1. Fernando Alonso Renault-Renault 1min 18.640secs 94 laps M
2. Giancarlo Fisichella Renault-Renault 1min 18.975secs 116 laps M
3. Jenson Button Honda-Honda 1min 19.383secs 137 laps M
4. Juan Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 1min 19.395secs 72 laps M
5. Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes 1min 19.558secs 37 laps M
6. Rubens Barrichello Honda-Honda 1min 19.695secs 108 laps M
7. Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1min 20.123secs 105 laps M
8. Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth 1min 20.191secs 72 laps B
9. Robert Kubica BMW-Sauber 1min 20.556secs 53 laps M
10. Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 1min 20.641secs 72 laps B
11. Jacques Villeneuve BMW-Sauber 1min 20.667secs 75 laps M
12. David Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari 1min 20.962secs 25 laps M
13. Vitantonio Liuzzi Red Bull-Ferrari 1min 21.058secs 43 laps M
14. Nick Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1min 21.870secs 32 laps M
15. Tiago Monteiro Midland MF1-Toyota 1min 22.083secs 84 laps B

[M denotes Michelin tyres / B denotes Bridgestone tyres]

Track conditions: Overcast and chilly.

All times unofficial.

Comparative lap times:

British GP 2005:

Fastest lap: Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes 1min 20.6502secs

 

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