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Alonso fined $2,000 for speeding in pit lane

Written by: Staff
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BARCELONA, May 12 (Reuters) World champion Fernando Alonso collected 2,000 dollar fine today for exceeding the pit lane speed limit in the first free practice session for his home Spanish Grand Prix.

But that was about the only excitement the Renault driver could offer the crowd chanting his name at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Even if the 24-year-old was in a hurry to get out on track, he did not complete a single timed lap, giving the blue-shirted crowd only a tantalising glimpse of his car with two installation checks.

Formula One's unsung test drivers had the track to themselves for all but the final few minutes of the hour-long session when Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher emerged to set the fastest times.

Massa, fresh from the first podium finish of his career after taking third place at the Nuerburgring last weekend, topped the timesheets with a lap of one minute, 15.796 seconds.

Schumacher, winner of the last two races and 13 points adrift of Alonso in the championship after five rounds, was second quickest in 1:16.099.

Austrian test driver Alex Wurz followed in a Williams, ahead of BMW Sauber's Polish reserve Robert Kubica and Honda's Anthony Davidson.

Apart from the two Ferrari drivers, Super Aguri's Takuma Sato was the only race driver to complete a timed lap. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, winner in Spain last year, did not even venture out on to the track.

A spokesman for McLaren's engine partners Mercedes said everything had gone according to plan.

Race drivers have become used to sitting out the first practice session, saving engines that must last for two successive races.

Alonso, winner twice this season and runner-up in the other three races, will start Sunday's grand prix with the same engine he used at the Nuerburgring.

Schumacher and Massa have fresh engines however.

REUTERS DH RN1702

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