Alonso fires Ferrari up in Montreal practice sessions

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Fernando Alonso offered Ferrari hope of a long-overdue result in Canada by setting the fastest time in practice.

Montreal has not been a happy hunting ground for the team over the years. Just once in the past five events at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has one of the Italian team’s drivers finished on the podium – Alonso in 2010.

Yesterday he edged Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton out by 0.012 seconds on a dry track throughout second practice – a wet morning meant the cold and damp dominated FP1. The double world champion posted a lap of one minute 14.818secs and finished with a session-high 48 laps overall, a fraction more than two thirds of a race distance.

Alonso and Hamilton were comfortably faster than any of their rivals, with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean third quickest, as was the case in FP1 at the end of which Force India’s Paul Di Resta led the way. In a brief period of running with dry-weather tyres on a still-damp track, the Scot was 0.088 seconds faster than McLaren’s Jenson Button.

Di Resta said: “I was definitely very cautious in the first sector because there were some yellow flags. I had a good run on inters and I’ve been happier with the car than in the past.”

Grosjean finished 0.265secs adrift of Alonso, with Mark Webber almost four tenths of a second down in fourth, followed by Monaco GP winner Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and current title leader Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull were up next, both just within half a second of Alonso.

Adrian Sutil, on the occasion of Force India’s 100th grands prix this weekend was eighth, with Di Resta 13th, the duo separated by half a second.