Fernando Alonso denied Sebastien Buemi his moment in the limelight as the Renault driver took the top spot away from the Swiss rookie in the final minutes of the second free practice session for this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Renault drive had a quiet session for most of the 90 minutes and his time of 1m12.314s went somewhat against the run of play.
For his part, Buemi made the most of what is clearly a competitive chassis as he came within 0.043sec of his first fastest time in a free practice session. The Swiss was quickest for most of the 90 minutes for the Toro Rosso team, with only World Championship leader Jenson Button threatening his position by topping the list mid-session. That is until the Spanish double World Champion changed all that.
Button ended the session fifth fastest behind teammate and title rival Rubens Barrichello (third) and Red Bull's Mark Webber (fourth). Jarno Trulli was sixth for Toyota. Sebastian Vettel took seventh in the second Red Bull in front of Nico Rosberg and Adrian Sutil. Lewis Hamilton completed the top 10. The entire field was covered by less than a second.
Buemi was quick from the outset, taking the top spot from Heikki Kovalainen with a 1m12.796s, before quickly lowering it to a 1m12.710s. Red Bull stablemate Sebastian Vettel had a crack at Buemi's time after 20 minutes, but was four thousandths shy of his time. Then Button, having previously complained over the radio of having a combination of oversteer and understeer, suddenly went fastest with a 1m12.696s. Two minutes later Mark Webber went quicker still, only for Button to respond immediately with a 1m12.523s lap.
At half distance it looked as though Button might go fastest in a practice session for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix in May, only for Buemi to calmly emerge from the pits and take the top spot again with a 1m12.357s.
That seemed to settle the matter as the teams started cracking into their long run programmes. And that combined with a return of the drizzly weather we saw in P1 and Giancarlo Fisichella stalling his Ferrari at the end of the pitlane ensured that nothing much happened until the flurry of activity at the session. That stirred up the order significantly with all the front-runners except Buemi posting last-minute flyers.
The session proved fairly incident free, with Vitantonio Liuzzi the only significant spinner at Laranja 20 minutes in.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Alonso Renault (B) 1:12.314 27
2. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:12.357 + 0.043 45
3. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:12.459 + 0.145 38
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:12.514 + 0.200 41
5. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:12.523 + 0.209 45
6. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:12.605 + 0.291 37
7. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:12.611 + 0.297 45
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:12.633 + 0.319 42
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:12.720 + 0.406 35
10. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:12.749 + 0.435 39
11. Grosjean Renault (B) 1:12.806 + 0.492 27
12. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:12.862 + 0.548 39
13. Kobayashi Toyota (B) 1:12.869 + 0.555 40
14. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:12.929 + 0.615 41
15. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:12.948 + 0.634 38
16. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:12.950 + 0.636 36
17. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:12.992 + 0.678 39
18. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:13.026 + 0.712 42
19. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:13.041 + 0.727 40
20. Fisichella Ferrari (B) 1:13.275 + 0.961 38
All Timing Unofficial