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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2008 SPANISH GRAND PRIX - FRIDAY PRACTICE
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Friday Practice
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
07:30 Good morning everyone, and a very warm welcome to autosport.com Live - a new service which will bring you live updating commentary, reaction and breaking news from every on-track session in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

The series returns to Europe, and to a familiar venue. The Circuit de Catalunya, built in 1991 and hosting its 18th Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, is heavily used in the winter by the Formula One teams as they test and develop their cars ahead of each new season. Just last week all the teams, with the exception of Super Aguri, were present during a four-day test at the 2.89 mile circuit to test and hone the machinery ahead of this weekend's event.

Today on autosport.com Live we will be bring you text commentary and updates from the Friday practice sessions. The schedule looks like this:

07:30 - 08:00 Setting the scene to ease you into the Formula One weekend.
08:00 - 09:30 Live commentary and updates from the morning practice session.
09:30 - 12:00 Continuing track and weather updates, as well as reactions to viewers comments, and any breaking news from the circuit.
12:00 - 13:30 Live commentary and updates from the second practice session of the day.
13:30 - 14:00 End of day reaction and round-up, where we go from here, and what to look out for tomorrow.
14:00 Autosport.com Live commentary ends for today.

07:31 'Welcome to our new home' - that was the tagline for the ill-fated launch of Heathrow's Terminal Five a few weeks ago. While we may not be opening up something quite as complex as British Airways' big greenhouse, there is a lot of technology under the hood of our new service.

Please bear with us if we experience some snags on the first weekend.

Do let us know what you think. Please post your feedback in the this thread on the autosport.com forums:
Bugs and Feedback - autosport.com Live

07:34 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen arrives in Spain leading the title chase on 19 points. The Finn endured a nightmare weekend in the opening round of the season in Australia, but he hit back with a win in Malaysia and went on to score well in the most recent round in Bahrain three weeks ago.

The early flyaway races have served up some close racing. Ferrari are being challenged this year - not just from their traditional rivals McLaren Mercedes, but by an ever-improving BMW Sauber team, who are now serious contenders for podium places at each event, and looking increasingly likely to score a victory or two if their form continues.

The even spread between the top three teams means that the main contenders are all tightly bunched. Nick Heidfeld is second in the drivers standings on 16 points, then we have a trio of drivers all on 14 points - Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, and Heikki Kovalainen.

07:38 Weatherwise we are looking at a glorious day at the track. Clear skies are expected from sunrise to sunset, and the maximum temperature today will reach 22 degrees celcius.

An increase in wind speed overnight will put the race teams, and in particular the race engineers, on guard for some handling inconsistencies. This morning the wind is blowing from the north west at around 10-12 mph.

07:45 We want to hear from you.

autosport.com forum members can debate the track action as it happens. Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM THREAD link in the red bar at the bottom of the page to join in.

Posted comments are automatically distributed to all viewers of the page.

07:50 As F1Fund mentions, the Infobox has tabs of useful facts for your reference. Along with the track map, we have the current status of each driver's multi-race components, details of the tyre compounds in use and an overview of last year's lap times at the circuit.

07:52 The Formula One teams of course come to the first European round of the championship with updated aerodynamic packages, in an effort to increase their pace.

This weekend the most eagerly awaited among those to hit the track will be the Ferrari and Honda cars. Both ran in last week's test with significant and eye-catching modifications to the front end of their cars.

07:55 There are now five minutes to go before the first practice session of the weekend begins.

08:00 The practice session is underway.

08:00 Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari is sitting proudly in the garage sporting the most recent aero changes at the front of the car. It seems they will run their modification in this session, as will Honda with their horns.

08:00 Lewis Hamilton is the first driver today to join the racetrack.

08:00 Behind him come both Force India cars of Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella.

08:02 The first cars to join the track all now complete their installation laps to check over the systems on the cars, and they now come back into the pitlane.

08:02 Lewis Hamilton has the harder tyre on his McLaren for this installation lap - that's a common choice as they don't want to waste the supply of softer tyres when those can be used when the track is cleaner.

08:03 Renault drivers Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet are now on their installation lap. Renault are also sporting some aero modifications this weekend, in the form of engine cover fins like we have seen this season on the Red Bull Racing cars.

08:06 Positive news for the sport this morning, is that Super Aguri have not only made it to Barcelona, but we hear have been given clearance from parent company Honda in Japan to run this weekend.

The team have been through troubled times financially recently, but it seems that a deal to see the team continue, at least in the short-term, has been reached.

08:07 Super Aguri's return to the track is very welcome after a very turbulent few weeks. The team have, though, stripped much of the branding from their cars.

08:08 The track temperature is 22c, with a relatively cool 18c ambient.

08:08 Replay: David Coulthard on his installation lap, comes down the back straight exiting Campsa corner, and heading towards turn 10 he snatches a front brake, and runs out of road. The Scotsman runs briefly onto the grasscrete at the outside of the left-hander and continues.

Coulthard pitted at the end of that lap and we have no cars currently on track.

08:10 We reach stalemate with no cars on the track. All that testing last week could severely dent the teams' desire to run today.

08:12 Fernando Alonso is sitting in the Renault gallery area that they have at the back of the garage. He looks fairly relaxed, as do most of the other drivers with little happening on the track.

08:13 A relatively small crowd is on hand in the Barcelona sunshine. At the moment, like us, they await further action.

08:14 Timo Glock is sitting in the back of the Toyota garage on a tool trolley, and in quiet contemplation He manages a wave to everyone watching.

08:18 Some of the fans in the grandstands are at least able to amuse themselves during this quiet spell, as we see some Sebastien Bourdais supporters showing off their skills, in the form of Bourdais' name spelt out on eight t-shirts.

08:20 In case you missed it earlier, both Super Aguri cars have completed one lap of the circuit, as their participation in Spain is confirmed. As yet, we have heard no confirmation of a deal to secure their long-term future.
Super Aguri to race in Spain

08:20 The waiting game continues at the Circuit de Catalunya. Eventually the cars will come out and do some running, but in the meantime they are all content to wait.

08:23 It has been a long time since we had to wait this length of time in any track session for a car to venture out onto the circuit.

It is reminiscent of the old-style 12-lap qualifying sessions that were run until the end of the 2002 season.

08:24 Down in the Renault garage, the mechanics are casually looking over their race cars. There is a relaxed atmosphere in the garage with no air of urgency at all.

08:25 Lewis Hamilton is getting his helmet on. The British driver is moving towards his car, as Kazuki Nakajima joins the racetrack to end the silence.

08:27 Nakajima comes through his second lap of the circuit and the Japanese driver comes round the final corner and begins what will be the first flying lap of the weekend.

08:27 Nakajima looks set to clock a time with almost half an hour of the session elapsed.

08:28 Nakajima, on the harder tyre, completes the first flying lap cleanly and sets a time of 1:24.389.

08:29 Heikki Kovalainen is out on the hard tyre in his McLaren.

08:29 Heikki Kovalainen is also on track and the Finn starts his first flying lap.

08:30 Kazuki Nakajima completes his second timed lap but it is no better than his initial mark of 1:24.389.

08:31 Lewis Hamilton is also on track in the sister McLaren.

08:31 Heikki Kovalainen crosses the line and goes a full two seconds faster than Nakajima - 1:22.471.

08:32 Nakajima's third timed lap is an improvement as the Japanese driver posts a 1:23.797.

08:32 Lewis Hamilton has joined the racetrack. It will be interesting to compare his laptimes against teammate Heikki Kovalainen.

08:33 Kazuki Nakajima has improved further on this run of laps and sets a time of 1:23.525.

08:34 Lewis Hamilton is now on top of the times with a 1:21.484.

08:34 Nico Rosberg slots in his Williams to fourth, currently behind his team-mate in the order.

08:36 Jarno Trulli slots into third position so far with a time of 1:23.151, as Lewis Hamilton is lighting up the timing monitor with the fastest second sector of the lap.

08:36 We have Jarno Trulli's Toyota backwards in the run-off...

08:38 Jarno Trulli has spun in turn 10.

Replay: Trulli came down the back straight, and he snatched a brake much like we saw with David Coulthard earlier. However it was a rear brake on the Toyota and Trulli was pitched into a spin and the extra tarmac run off. The Italian pitted.

08:38 Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton is continuing to set the early pace. He clocks a 1:21.192 to stretch his benchmark.

08:40 The BMWs of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica have joined the track, and both are on their first timed laps of the day.

Heidfeld immediately goes third, behind the two McLarens with a time of 1:22.563.

08:40 So far this year the BMW team have concentrated on heavy fuel loads in the practice sessions, before revealing a turn of pace later in the weekend.

08:41 Team radio at Williams.

Kazuki Nakajima reports to his race engineer that he is experiencing a general lack of grip. He comments that the track condition is quite poor currently.

08:42 Robert Kubica completes his first timed lap of the race meeting, and he slots into fourth position behind his teammate Heidfeld, with a lap oif 1:22.608.

08:42 Kimi Raikkonen is being secured in to his Ferrari as the team continue their policy of a late debut in the practice sessions.

08:43 Nelson Piquet has joined the track for a run, as has David Coulthard.

08:43 Raikkonen pulls his Ferrari out of the garage and on to the circuit for the first time this weekend.

08:44 All the cars are using the harder tyre at this stage, saving the softer rubber for later in the day.

08:45 On his next lap Robert Kubica bettered Heidfeld's time, and goes third with a lap of 1:22.262.

08:46 Team radio at Williams.

Nico Rosberg reports that he has understeer everywhere on the circuit.

08:46 A cautious early lap, with the help of extra steering input from the driver, puts Raikkonen third on a 1:22.014.

He is looking a lot quicker on this following lap ...

08:47 Kimi ups his pace second time by and is now just over a tenth slower than Hamilton as he continues to excite the timing screen.

08:48 Kimi Raikkonen ends his three-lap rise up the timesheet with the quickest lap in 1:20.997.

08:49 Felipe Massa is the only driver to have not come out onto the track at all as yet.

Mark Webber moves towards his Red Bull machine and could come out onto the racetrack soon.

08:50 The tyre covers come off at McLaren, and Lewis Hamilton joins the racetrack.

08:51 The Ferrari of Raikkonen continues to provide the interest as he clocks a fourth lap just a fraction slower than his benchmark before improving the best time to a 1:20.649.

Raikkonen sets the early pace with his hard tyres fully up to temperature.

08:53 Felipe Massa is now out and has spun his Ferrari ...

08:53 Felipe Massa has spun in the new chicane. The Ferrari driver gets going again and begins another lap.

08:55 Felipe Massa looked on for a time after recovering from that spin but he slowed in the final complex as he caught traffic from a Toyota.

08:55 Replay: Massa spun under braking for the tight chuicane part of the track at turn 14. He kept the engine running and continued on this run of laps.

08:56 Fernando Alonso is now sitting in his Renault, and we could see the Spaniard join the track soon.

08:57 Replay: Timo Glock runs wide at the exit of the fast right-handed Campsa corner. The Toyota driver understeered onto the grasscrete beyond the exit kerb but continued at unabated speed. Felipe Massa followed him over the same piece of grasscrete in sympathy.

08:58 Felipe Massa's patchy first stint continues but he finally makes it to a more normal position in the order with a 1:20.937 for second.

08:59 Replay: Timo Glock comes round Campsa on the following lap and this time goes even wider on the exit, and just manages to kick up a few stones from the graveltrap.

Timo decided to pit at the end of that lap - he needs some more front downforce in the high speed on that Toyota.

08:59 Massa improves his time with a 1:20.699, just hundredths down on his team-mate.

09:01 A driver who has done a solid job this morning is Nelson Piquet. He has completed 10 laps so far and is in fifth position.

09:01 Massa is sideways on the racetrack after another spin ...

09:03 Massa has pitted the Ferrari after recovering from his second spin in turn seven. He has immediately returned to the track.

09:04 Felipe Massa spun coming through the uphill turns at seven and eight. He ran very wide exiting the left hander and skirted the dust and lost grip at the rear of the car, spinning him round.

Felipe continued on this run of laps, but then pits at the end of the following lap.

09:05 Fernando Alonso comes over the line in his Renault to clock the ninth fastest time. The Renault is running a Red Bull-style fin on the airbox.

09:07 Davidson pits his minimally-branded Super Aguri. The only stickers that remain are Honda on the rear wing and the Bridgestone logo on the nose.

09:09 We see the unsurprising scene of Felipe Massa's Ferrari up on jack stands with adjustments being made to the car's set-up.

09:10 Team radio at Honda.

Jenson Button reports that he has a lot more front end grip than he experienced at the test. That said,, he still has a touch of understeer in a few places around the circuit.

Like all drivers, he wants more and more grip.

09:11 Home hero Fernando Alonso improves the time set by his Renault to a 1:21.933, fifth quickest at the moment.

09:13 Alonso pits his Renault and they perform the now-common practice of a tyre change rehearsal using wet tyres.

09:15 Replay: Giancarlo Fisichella has run wide through Campsa corner and skirts the gravel as he exits the corner. The Italian continues without damage and continues on this run of laps.

09:16 Robert Kubica has moved up the standings in the BMW. His lap of 1:21.937 put him seventh in the order using hard tyres.

He improves again to a 1:21.849 for fifth.

09:17 Lewis Hamilton is back out with hard tyres on his McLaren.

09:18 Hamilton's return to the track is a 1:22.104, over a second down on the time he set earlier.

09:19 Robert Kubica improved further on his final lap of his latest run of laps, and went fourth with a time of 1:21.568.

09:20 There are now ten minutes remaining in the morning practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya.

09:22 Hard tyres are still being favored at this point in the session. We've not seen anyone attempt to use the softer rubber at this stage.

09:23 In the midfield, both Honda drivers are on hot laps and setting personal best sectors in the first part of the lap. Both curiously struggle in the second sector.

They come across the line and neither make an impression on the laptimes.

09:24 One of the Ferrari cars is in the FIA weighbridge. This is possibly Felipe Massa, as the team may want to check the weight if they have been adjusting the ballast on the car.

09:25 Nico Rosberg and improves to 12th place, with a time of 1:23.003, set on hard rubber.

09:26 Kimi Raikkonen rolls his Ferrari out of the garage on hard tyres.

09:28 Kimi starts a flying lap in his Ferrari and his team-mate will miss out on a run at the end of the session.

09:29 Replay: Sebastian Vetel has been off the prepared surface in the final complex of corners on the lap. The German ran wide in his Toro Rosso car entering New Holland, and onto the extra tarmac area. Vettel continued on this run of laps and remains way down the field in 20th position.

09:30 Raikkonen clocks a 1:23.069 in an unhurried lap as the flag comes out.

09:30 The session has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

09:32 As the cars trail back to the pits, the Renault team again practice their tyre change in the box using some wet tyres.

09:34 The morning practice session has been uneventful to say the least. A predictably slow start to proceedings after the four-day test last week on this track.

The laptimes then came slowly, but with little off-track incident the focus of the morning has been on the new car modifications, and the speed of the Ferraris - although Felipe Massa did his best to liven us all up with his display of spins.

09:37 The session report and classification is now available:
Ferrari dominate practice 1 - Spain

09:53 Interesting development after the first session this morning. Currently, a circuit inspection is taking place, with particular attention being paid to the green corner-exit matting and grasscrete area just where the cars turn into the final corner of the lap.

It's possibly just one of the matting patches that has come loose. At this point on the circuit, the cars are hard on the power exiting the new complex and sweeping out wide to the kerb before taking the final right-hander.

10:08 While the Formula One teams debrief, and analyse the morning performance, out front the GP2 teams and drivers are busy with their 30-minute practice session.

Giorgio Pantano has been shown coming through turn five with some oil overfill coming from the exhaust breather, and he is now having the engine checked over in the pitlane.

Andreas Zuber is currently fastest with a laptime of 1:28.130.

10:40 The GP2 practice session ended at the Circuit de Catalunya, with no-one able to better Andreas Zuber's time from earlier in the session.

Karun Chandhok and Alberto Valerio both had car-damaging incidents during the session. Chandhok losing control at the Renault corner (turn three), spinning across the gravel trap and backing the car into the tyres, causing damage to the rear wing.

In the dying moments of the session Alberto Valerio had an incident at Campsa corner when he spun through 360 degrees and hit the retaining tyre wall. Valerio was unharmed, however the front end of his car was damaged, and will keep the mechanics busy ahead of the GP2 qualifying session.

So practice finished up with Zuber quickest, followed by Maldonado, Parente, Filippi, Pantano, and Bruno Senna in sixth.

Zuber tops Barcelona free practice

11:02 The track action continues in the break between the two Formula One practice sessions.

The Formula BMW qualifying session, lasting for 20 minutes, is taking place, with Adrien Tambay - son of former Formula One driver Patrick - setting the early pace.

In the skies conditions remain dry and clear, with the fans enjoying the April sunshine.

11:39 There are just over 20 minutes to go until the second practice session begins.

Conditions remain dry and bright, with a light breeze and a high temperature of 22 degrees celcius.

11:47 Thanks for all the feedback so far. Please post any thoughts you have on our new development in this thread on the autosport.com forums:
Bugs and Feedback - autosport.com Live

11:58 The track temperature has risen to 36c as the afternoon sunshine takes the ambient up to 24c.

11:59 In the Force India garage we see Adrian Sutil being strapped into his car, in readiness for the start of the session.

Fernando Alonso is similarly suiting up and getting his helmet on. The fans in the main grandstand opposite see him on the big screens and cheer loudly.

12:00 The practice session is underway.

12:01 Anthony Davidson and Nick Heidfeld are the first two cars to come out onto the circuit. Several more cars are joining the track now with them, including Lewis Hamilton.

12:02 The track will be a little dirty in these opening moments as both GP2 and Forumula BMW have been out on circuit in the interval.

12:03 Robert Kubica is making an early move on soft tyres with his BMW. There was no notable use of the stickier rubber in the first session.

12:03 Replay: Lewis Hamilton wide and off the road at turn one. He continued.

12:04 Kubica has an early lead in the timesheet with a 1:23.547.

12:06 Lewis Hamilton is being told on his radio that he needs to warm up his rear brakes.

He is second quickest at the moment on the harder rubber.

12:06 A rush of early laptimes have been set by half the field in the early stages of this practice session.

Robert Kubica is the fastest of those so far with a laptime of 1:23.547, and he betters that on his next lap with a 1:22.967.

12:08 Lewis Hamilton has spun the McLaren in turn ten but he continues ...

12:09 Lewis Hamilton has spun in turn 10.

Replay: Hamilton enters the braking zone without problem, and spins mid-corner, just at the point where you would want to put your foot back on the throttle pedal, and he spins harmlessly.

Hamilton continues, and pits at the end of the lap.

12:10 Nico Rosberg now has the soft tyre on his Williams. He's up to second quickest at the moment on a 1:23.435, despite collecting an oversteer moment in the final sector.

12:12 Adrian Sutil comes from nowhere into second position with a laptime of 1:23.032. He is on the softer tyre and he improves further to take the benchmark time with 1:22.828.

12:12 Kimi Raikkonen is now on track and is starting his afternoon on the harder tyre.

Felipe Massa had a couple of spins in the first period. He joins the race track and will be hoping that his car is now set up better for the current conditions on the track.

12:13 Kimi Raikkonen is on a personal best lap, but he can't get near the time just set by Force India's Adrian Sutil, who currently tops the timesheet.

12:15 Adrian Sutil pits his Force India to end table-topping run on soft tyres.

12:15 Force India have come out of the starting blocks well this afternoon.

Giancarlo Fisichella moves into third position with a 1:23.171.

12:16 Giancarlo Fisichella comes over the line, with hard tyres bolted onto his car, to go fastest in the session - 1:22.494.

We have a force India one-two currently.

12:18 Robert Kubica continues to lap with the soft tyres on his BMW, whereas hard tyres are still favoured by the majority at this stage in the proceedings.

12:21 Fernando Alonso is on a hot lap now in the Renault. Currently he is half a second behind his teammate Nelson Piquet.. Alonso sets three personal best sector times on his way to 10th position and a laptime of 1:23.480.

12:21 Lewis Hamilton is now just behind Raikkonen in the standings, currently fifth. It looks like the big guns are taking a measured approach to the start of this session and looking at their pace on race fuel.

12:23 Heikki Kovalainen has yet to come out on track this afternoon.

Felipe Massa is another of the top drivers who has done very little running so far this afternoon, having completed only two laps.

12:23 Hamilton had something of a lap on there, with the quickest first sector, but it shook out at a 1:23.948 despite no obvious mistakes.

12:25 An excellent lap from Nelson Piquet moves him up the standings to eighth position with a laptime of 1:23.265.

12:25 David Coulthard has jumped up to third with a 1:22.559 on hard tyres. The times are still much slower than the cooler session this morning.

12:27 News from the pitlane: McLaren have had Kovalainen's car up on the stands and the floor was taken off the car. It is being reassembled now and Heikki could be ready to join in the racetrack in around five to ten minutes.

12:28 Lewis Hamilton continues to set a range of somewhat inconsistent laps. Conditions seem tricky at the moment with the 2008-spec cars slipping around some of the corners.

12:28 Nelson Piquet continues his progress towards the front of the standings, by setting the fourth fastest time - 1:22.901.

12:30 With thirty minutes of the session elapsed, we still have the Force India duo of Fisichella and Sutil at the top of the order.

12:30 Felipe Massa has returned to the circuit in his Ferrari. He's got the harder Bridgestones on the wheels.

12:31 Mark Webber is on a timed lap now in the Red Bull RB3. The Australian sets a personal best sector in the first sector of the lap, but cannot maintain the speed and comes thorough with no improvement to his overall laptime.

12:33 Massa slots in fourth with his opening salvo of the session - a 1:22.772. His team-mate has also just jumped up the standings to second on a 1:22.498, also using hard tyres.

12:34 Sebastian Vettel's last run of laps was cut short by a steering problem. Vettel reports that the steering was getting continually worse every that, and that he can not driver the car like this.

The team of mechanics will now work on Vettel's steering issue.

12:35 Heikki Kovalainen is now being strapped into his McLaren.

He will join the racetrack soon.

12:37 Felipe Massa continues his run and is lapping consistently in the late 1:22s. He is quickest in the first sector on this current lap.

12:40 Massa is demonstrating some very consistent pace in his Ferrari - almost all his laps in this current run have been within a couple of tenths of his best time.

12:41 David Coulthard is out for another run, this time using the soft tyre. He is setting good sector times on the timing monitor, and that translates into the top time at the end of the lap with a 1:22.321.

12:43 A lot of drivers still have two sets of soft rubber yet to be deployed, so a lot of quicker laps can be expected as the stickier tyres come out on a track that is now in much-improved condition.

12:43 Replay: Adrian Sutil running wide at Campsa corner, and onto the grasscrete on the outside of the circuit.. He continues and is currently in fourth position.

12:44 Heikki Kovalainen has joined the racetrack, finally, after half of the session.

12:44 Lewis Hamilton is back on circuit in his McLaren. He's got the soft tyres on, let's see what he can do.

12:46 Lewis sets his best time of the day, with a 1:22.857 for sixth. That's a similar time to those logged by the pair of Ferraris during their recent stint on hard tyres.

12:46 Replay: Sebastian Vettel runs wide at the top of the hill at Campsa corner. He continues after briefly running across the grasscrete.

12:47 Heikki Kovalainen is finally getting back on track after technical gremlins in the McLaren.

A 1:23.405 puts the Finn 13th on the softer tyre.

12:48 Robert Kubica informs the team that he is unhappy with the set-up and performance from his BMW Sauber. He says it understeers everywhere.

12:48 Nico Rosberg in the Williams is the latest man to top the timesheets. He's got the soft tyres onboard and has clocked a 1:22.302.

12:49 Rosberg improved again on his next lap - a 1:22.266.

12:50 Kazuki Nakajima is on the softer tyre, and is on the move up the order. In fact the Japanese driver goes fastest of all with a laptime of 1:22.172.

12:52 Timo Glock's Toyota is picked up on screen. He's struggling with the car on soft rubber, underseering significantly in the long, sweeping turn three.

12:52 It's a Williams one-two and we have 37 minutes to go in the second practice session for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

12:55 Lewis Hamilton continues to circulate with soft tyres on his McLaren. He's in the early part of the 1:23s, a few tenths slower than Ferrari's set of late 1:22s, on hard rubber, earlier in the session.

12:57 Kimi Raikkonen is on circuit with soft rubber on his Ferrari.

12:58 The Renault drivers - Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet, have joined the racetrack again. Both drivers moved up the field well earlier in the session, but have slipped down into the lower half of the field again.

It won't happen on this run for Fernando Alonso either, as the Spaniard pits and remains in 15th place in the standings.

12:59 Raikkonen's first flyer of the day on soft tyres is a 1:22.294 - not far shy of the Williams benchmark but still suggesting the Finn is looking at how the rubber performs with some fuel onboard.

13:00 We continue to watch Kimi Raikkonen on softs, as his team-mate is also out on the same rubber.

13:01 Felipe Massa comes over the line with a 1:22.229 for second, just a fraction quicker than his team-mate's first lap on the soft option.

13:02 Heikki Kovalainen's difficult day continues, as we tick down under 30 minutes to go in the afternoon practice session.

Hampered by car problems earlier, meaning that the Finn couldn't go out in the early part of this session, he eventually got out onto the circuit. However, after turning just five laps he was back into the McLaren garage.

He has been in the garage for another 20 minutes, but now joins the racetrack for only the second time this afternmoon.

13:03 Kovalainen now starts a hot lap. He is using the hard tyre in this stint.

13:05 Kovalainen has pulled off the track with an apparent technical fault on his McLaren ...

13:06 Heikki Kovalaiinen pulls off the racetrack and his day is over in the McLaren Mercedes.

13:08 Replays show the Finn pulling off the racetrack at the exit of turn six and climbing out of the car.

13:09 Fernando Alonso is now quickest with a 1:22.034 on soft rubber.

13:11 Nick Heidfeld is testing the soft tyres on his BMW, although he lies 13th in the standings at the moment.

13:11 Further news on Heikki Kovalainen:

The original problem with the McLaren which prevented him from lapping in the early part of the afternoon session, was down to a gearbox component failure.

The team fixed the problem and sent him out for a run. He came into the pits, had some changes made to the car, and went back out onto the racetrack again.

It then stopped on track.

13:13 Nelson Piquet makes it a Renault one-two and goes to the top of the standings with a time of 1:22.019.

13:15 Heikki Kovalainen has already made it back to the McLaren Mercedes garage, and is currently in discussion with one of his team - Mark Slade, and Heikki is telling him what happened when the car stopped.

13:16 Robert Kubica tried the soft tyres earlier in the session but now has his second set bolted on the BMW.

Hamilton is also heading out in the McLaren on soft tyres.

13:16 Nelson Piquet is continuing to circulate on the soft tyre and is fast again on the following lap after setting the fastest laptime of the session. Piquet loses time in the final sector and comes over the line with no improvement this time round.

13:18 Kubica is tenth in the standings now as BMWs policy of a measured pace in free practice seems to be continuing.

13:19 Lewis Hamilton is on a hot lap on soft tyres and is a threat to the top time in the first sector of the lap. However the Briton then continually loses time through the second and third sector and stays down in 11th position.

13:20 There are now under ten minutes left in the Friday afternoon practice session for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

13:21 Hamilton fails to improve on his second lap on those tyres. He didn't seem entirely comfortable with the McLaren's handling and locked the unloaded left front wheel a couple of times under braking.

13:23 Heikki Kovalainen takes a walk over to the McLaren pitwall area and has a brief discussion with Martin Whitmarsh, before heading back to the garage, and impressively leaping clear of the Tensa barrier.

13:24 Here comes Raikkonen again with soft tyres.

13:25 Here comes Kimi Raikkonen for a go at the top time, in the final five minutes of the session. The Ferrari driver is ahead of the benchmark time in the first sector, and he is fastest of all in sector two.

Raikkonen comes through and this is going to be P1 for sure - and it is! Raikkonen sets a 1:21.935.

13:26 Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren is wheeled back into the pit lane after failing on the cirucit. It has been a troubled Friday for the Finn.

13:26 19 out of a possible 22 cars are currently on track.

13:26 Felipe Massa is also on a soft tyre run in the Ferrari.

13:28 Fernando Alonso is on the track for a final run at the target time. Fernando is using the soft tyre on his Renault , but he can't make any serious impression in the first sector of the lap. In fact the Spaniard backs off and slows down in the second sector. Lap aborted.

13:29 Felipe Massa's Ferrari looks a little nervous in this final run, although his poor time may have been down to traffic from Rosberg's Williams.

13:30 The session has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

13:31 Lewis Hamilton has apparently pulled off the racetrack on his final lap in the session.

13:32 Kimi Raikkonen concludes the session as the fastest man on Friday in Spain. His late laps were some way off the pace due to a multitude of traffic in the closing minutes.

13:32 Hamilton's car rolled to a halt at the entrance to the pitlane. Lewis has climbed out and is not looking too amused with the situation.

13:34 Renault drivers Nelson Piquet and Fernando Alonso take their helmets off in the back of the Renault garage. The crowd in the main grandstand go wild as the two are shown on the giant screens.

13:35 Reacting to the noise that can be heard all around the circuit, Alonso walks to the front of the garage, and waves to the fans.

13:35 Matt Beer has the session report and final classification:
Raikkonen stays on top in practice 2

13:39 As we move towards the end of our first day on autosport.com Live, one more mention for our feedback thread. Let us know your thoughts on the service. Good, bad or ugly - tell us about it here:
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13:42 The early burst of laps is something we have come to expect from the afternoon Friday practice sessions on Grand Prix weekends. The two Force India cars shooting to the top of the classification was a little more out of the ordinary though.

Both Williams and Renault made brief one-two appearrances at the top of the timesheet. McLaren Mercedes had a very difficult afternoon session - Lewis Hamilton was inconsistent, and his car rolled to a halt in the pitlane entrance, Heikki Kovalainen did very little running due to a gearbox issue in the early stages, then the car stopped out on track a little later.

In the end though it was left to the World Champion himself to produce the late late show and set the fastest time of the session - Kimi Raikkonen with a 1:21.935 that just pipped both Renaults.

"It doesn't mean much. The car drives quite nice now. It has been quite a nice Friday. I think so for sure the soft is faster (tyre compound), but both tyres work pretty well. Hopefully we can stay where we are now, we try tomorrow and on Sunday."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari

13:58 So what can we expect to see tomorrow?

Well, firstly the Spanish Formula One fans will be in good voice after the strong Renault performance in this afternoon's session, so tomorrow will be full of colour and atmosphere at the very least.

Ferrari are looking strong, particularly in the hands of Kimi Raikkonen. The car looks fast, stable, and appears to have very good traction away from the numerous medium and low-speed corners at the circuit.

Mclaren Mercedes are not looking in the best of shape today and they need to enjoy a much more productive day on Saturday if they want to seriously challenge Ferrari for victory.

BMW Sauber could again surprise and put themselves right at the sharp end of the list when it matters at the end of qualifying, and can Renault's new aero package see both drivers get solidly into the top ten in qualifying?

There are many questions to be answered. Tomorrow we will continue answering these questions and a lot, lot more as we guide you through the final practice and qualifying sessions from the Circuit de Catalunya.

Please join us here on autosport.com Live from 08:30 GMT for day two of action from the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix.

  OVERVIEW PRACTICE TWO  
Session length 90 minutes
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  CURRENT WEATHER
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Track: Dry
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Monday 21 Apr Start GMT
 Weather Forecasts and Reports 15:00
Friday 25 Apr
 Friday Practice 07:30
Saturday 26 Apr
 Final Practice and Qualifying 08:30
Sunday 27 Apr
 Raceday at the Circuit de Catalunya 08:00
  ABOUT
Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are autosport.com's live commentary team. The dynamic duo have developed an inimitable style and a reputation for fast, accurate and insightful commentary. With unrivaled access to events unfolding at the circuit, they bring you the very latest, as it happens.

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