Alonso fastest in second practice

Hockenheim, Germany, July 23: Former double world champion Fernando Alonso played down his chances of winning Sunday's German Grand Prix after clocking the fastest time of the day during Friday's second practice.

The 28-year-old Ferrari driver, 19th fastest in the morning, posted a time of one minute 16.265 seconds with just over half an hour remaining of the session as the Hockenheimring began to dry and drivers were able to remove their wet weather tyres.

The Spaniard, however, said his recent experiences have taught him to take nothing for granted.

"The target is to finally have a perfect weekend," said Alonso. "We have done some good Fridays before but we need to do a perfect Saturday and a perfect Sunday.

"If it is behind the Red Bull and we are not quick enough to challenge them then okay, but if we can be in front of them then even better."

Home favourite Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull was second quickest, the German just 0.02 seconds slower. He was followed by Brazilian Felipe Massa, a further 0.2 seconds adrift in the second Ferrari.

Australian Mark Webber was fourth quickest in the second Red Bull ahead of Mercedes drivers Germans Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, who were fifth and sixth quickest respectively.

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton sat most of the session out while his team repaired his car, but rejoined the session late on and wound up seventh fastest.

Defending champion Jenson Button was well off the pace, clocking the 15th fastest time.

Alonso said the changing track conditions meant it was hard to judge the results and refused to discount Red Bull and McLaren.

"Friday is not very representative of the times," he said. "Perhaps this Friday was even more strange because of the track conditions, which changed constantly but we tested everything we wanted to test.

"Now we have to analyse all the data we have. But it was a positive Friday.

"We won't know how competitive we are until tomorrow and the grid will not have changed radically from Silverstone to here and so McLaren, Red Bull and us will be up there."

Alonso also insisted that his season objective was still to win the world championship and said it is imperative to finish ahead of Hamilon who currently heads the standings.

"You have to try to finish ahead of the leader so the gap doesn't increase.

"Right now it's a McLaren so we have to try to finish ahead of them to be less than 47 points away in the next race. If in the next race it's a Red Bull, then we'll have to try to finish ahead of that Red Bull and so on.

"We need to have a better second half of the season, with more podiums."

Robert Kubica of Renault was eighth fastest ahead of Williams drivers Rubens Barichello and Nico Hulkenberg.

Lotus driver Jarno Trulli was forced to retire towards the end of the session with what is believed to have been an engine failure and Force India driver Adrian Sutil, who was fastest in the morning, wound up 14th.

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