McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso claimed end of day honours at Fuji Speedway by posting the fastest times of second free practice, taking the unofficial lap record down into the 1min 18s.

While Ferrari will insist that its set-up programme meant that it was unable to match the silver machines, Hamilton and Alonso fought out another private battle for top spot, with the Briton's 1min 18.734secs effort eventually seeing off his team-mate by a couple of tenths. No-one else ducked under 1min 19secs, with Kimi Raikkonen's 1min 19.119secs lap from session one counting as third best of the day.

Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa was third in the afternoon session, but the Brazilian could only muster a 1min 19.483secs best, leaving him seventh tenths off Hamilton's pace.

Fourth placed Jarno Trulli, keen to give Toyota a decent showing on its home track, was nearly a full second off the target time, the Italian clocking 1min 19.711secs to prevent the big four from again dominating the timesheets. Raikkonen was next up, but had to settle for fifth by 0.003secs.

After a tough morning, Renault made a better fist of stating its intentions, with Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella setting the early pace before winding up sixth and seventh. A third Renault engine was next in line, as David Coulthard bounced back from the rear wing problem that blighted his morning to claim eighth spot. Ralf Schumacher and Robert Kubica completed the top ten, driving for Toyota and BMW Sauber respectively, with Mark Webber joining Red Bull racing team-mate Coulthard in the top half of the table, but being kept out of the top ten despite recording an identical time to Kubica.

Williams' early promise faded as the team worked on different elements of its package, Alex Wurz and Nico Rosberg dropping to twelfth and 13th, just ahead of Jenson Button and Nick Heidfeld, the German not able to match the pace of BMW team-mate Kubica. Adrian Sutil again pushed Spyker above expectations and, while not able to replicate the ninth place he secured in the morning, kept the orange machine ahead of Rubens Barrichello as well both Toro Rossos and the two Super Aguris.

Anthony Davidson had all but matched Sutil in the earlier 90-minute outing, but dropped to 20th, leaving himself ahead only of the two local heroes, Sakon Yamamoto and Takuma Sato enduring difficult afternoons that included a coming together between the Spyker driver and Barrichello in pit-lane.

 

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