Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton shrugged off any lasting effects of Thursday's World Motor Sport Council hearing to post the two fastest times of day one at Spa-Francorchamps.

Having trailed Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen in the morning session, the two McLaren pilots moved to the head of the board with laps in the 1min 46secs bracket, ducking under the best achieved at the three-day test at the Belgian circuit in July. Alonso moved to the top of the order early in the 90-minute outing, eventually clocking 1min 46.654secs to take the honours for the day.

Team-mate Hamilton, who had been closest to Raikkonen first time around, was second fastest again, this time just 0.111secs shy of the pace, while Felipe Massa bounced back from not competing a flying lap in first practice to claim third spot this time around. The Brazilian had gone off at the far end of the course in the morning session, but damage was sufficiently limited that Ferrari could get the F20076 fixed and back on track in the three-hour break between sessions.

Raikkonen ensured that the top four had a familiar look by following his team-mate, but only just ducked under his best time from testing as he posted the first time over 1min 47secs. The Finn was among those to fall foul of the Ardennes circuit during the session, although the Ferrari was able to continue after a spin.

Instead of BMW Sauber being best of the rest, however, the honour fell to Toyota, which pushed Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher into top six positions, with Giancarlo Fisichella and Mark Webber also getting ahead of the best Hinwil car, piloted by Robert Kubica in ninth. Heikki Kovalainen rounded out a solid day for Renault by taking tenth.

Nick Heidfeld and Nico Rosberg, fourth and fifth in the morning session, managed only eleventh and twelfth this time around , but seventh to 14th were covered by a second and a similar gain would have pushed Heidfeld and Rosberg in among the Toyotas. As always on a Friday, however, the variation in programmes being followed by the teams clouded the true picture.

David Coulthard secured 13th despite reporting gearbox problems, while Alex Wurz followed the Scot in 16th - split by the two Hondas - despite being hampered by a down on power engine early on.

Adrian Sutil was the other major casualty, crashing out at Malmedy while pressing on in the B-spec Spyker. As a result, the German trailed team-mate Sakon Yamamoto by seven-tenths, the Japanese driver also pushing himself ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Takuma Sato, while Anthony Davidson and Tonio Liuzzi brought up the rear.

 

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