Alonso's Ferrari on song

Alonso's Ferrari on song

Vettel crashes during practice on dramatic day

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso set the fastest time  during practice in Montreal on Friday. AFP

Double world champion Alonso roared around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in a best time of one minute 15.107 seconds offering hope that Ferrari, without a pole since Singapore last September, might be able to take the fight to Red Bull.

"It was definitely one of our best Fridays," Alonso told reporters. "It doesn't happen often that we see our cars in the top five places. "It's hard to drive in these conditions and then there are three or four places here where the slightest error sees you end up in the wall.”

The sunny afternoon session was interrupted by several crashes with Sauber's Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi, Belgian Jerome D'Ambrosio for Virgin and Force India's Adrian Sutil all causing delays when they skidded off the track into the wall.

World champion Vettel, winner of five of the season's first six races and sure to be the man to reckon with again on Sunday, damaged his Red Bull in the morning.

With 34 minutes remaining in the opening session, Vettel drifted wide coming out of the chicane into the home straight and joined a list of illustrious names to have hit the notorious wall over the years.

Vettel was one of the first on track in the afternoon and set a time that immediately sent the 23-year-old to the top of the timing screens, remaining there until finally being nudged into second by Alonso.

Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa, a McLaren reserve driver, was 18th fastest in the Sauber after being drafted in as a race replacement for Mexican rookie Sergio Perez who was still feeling the effects of his big Monaco crash.

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