Fernando Alonso beat Lewis Hamilton to the quickest time of second practice to increase hopes of another competitive qualifying session for the European Grand Prix.

10651 - Alonso heads Hamilton in Valencia

Alonso's time of 1:37.968 was 0.227 faster than Hamilton, and set despite a major lock-up in to the final corner. Sebastian Vettel was third on a 1:38.265, with Michael Schumacher fourth, 0.05s further back. Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and Mark Webber were next on the timesheets as the top seven were separated by little more than half a second.

Vettel, having run the Silverstone specification engine map in the first session, was immediately quickest, going 0.4s faster than his team-mate had in the morning before breaking the 1m40s barrier for the first time. The Red Bulls were comfortably quickest in the final sector, but both Ferrari and McLaren were able to make up enough time earlier in the lap to negate the deficit.

Times were quicker early on, but drivers were still struggling for grip as Alonso wrestled with his Ferrari exiting turn 14 and Hamilton ran dangerously close to the wall at turn one. Sergio Perez ran very wide at turn eight while his team-mate Kamui Kobayashi locked up heavily in to the final corner to name just a few of the mistakes.

Button was complaining of big oversteer at high speed and no rear grip as he tried to find the optimal setup, and Alonso was angry with Narain Karthikeyan who was entering the pit lane as Alonso attacked the final corner.

In the pits Jamie Alguersuari had a mechanical problem which prevented any running as his car was worked on throughout the session, while Paul di Resta didn't get out until the final ten minutes of the session as the Force India mechanics worked on repairing his car following Nico Hulkenberg's crash in FP1, eventually setting the 14th fastest time.