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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd
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Alonso Tops Free Practice 1 In Tricky Conditions

Fernando Alonso was the pick of the bunch in a weather affected first practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver timed his lap perfectly, getting out when the track was at its driest, along with the two Force Indias of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil, who joined the Spaniard at the top of the time sheets. Sergio Perez and Nico Rosberg rounded out the top five.

The session saw tricky conditions for the drivers, with the first and last sectors never fully drying out while a dry line rapidly appeared in the middle split. Slick tyres were used around half way in to the 90 minute session, where Alonso and the Force Indias were able to make the best out of the slippery track.

The track got quite quiet after the first 15 minutes, with the conditions too dry for intermediate tyres, yet too wet for the slicks. Jenson Button had dominated proceedings up until that point, and it wasn’t until 45 minutes in that Mark Webber went out with a set of hard tyres on his Red Bull.

When others saw Webber take to the track with slick tyres, many followed suit, also taking in to account the weather forecast which predicted further rain in the closing stages of the session.

Perez became the first man to remove Button from the top of the time sheets, also becoming the first driver to dip below the two minute barrier with around half an hour remaining in the session.

A sudden flurry of lap times saw Alonso go to the top momentarily, before being removed by Perez and di Resta. Alonso’s next lap, however, was enough to see him stay at the top of the time sheets until the end of the session, setting a time of 1:55.198s, less than a tenth ahead of Paul di Resta.