iconimg Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Barcelona, May 20, 2011
Red Bull's Mark Webber was back on the pace in Spanish Grand Prix practice on Friday at the track that ignited the Australian's title challenge last year. Webber topped the Formula One timesheets in both sessions before and after lunch on a bright day at the Circuit de Catalunya, setting his best time of one minute 22.470 seconds in the afternoon.

While Red Bull enjoyed a one-two in the morning, Webber was run much closer by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in the second session when the Briton split the Red Bulls with a lap just 0.039 off the best time.

McLaren have brought some significant updates to Barcelona, as have others, after a disappointing showing in Turkey and the initial signs were positive.

Webber's victory in Barcelona last year, then as now the fifth round of the season, was his first in a campaign that saw him leading the championship and challenging for the title right down to the wire.

The Australian is currently third overall, 38 points adrift of champion team mate Sebastian Vettel, but with the momentum building. The 34-year-old has been fifth, fourth, third and second in his last four races and seemingly poised to complete the sequence on Sunday.

Championship leader Vettel was second in the morning, but more than a second slower than Webber's time of 1:25.142, and third after lunch.

Germany's Nico Rosberg was third fastest for Mercedes in the morning ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Mexican Sergio Perez for Sauber.

Alonso to stay with Ferrari till 2016
Fernando Alonso committed the rest of his Formula One career to his 'second family' Ferrari on Thursday after the Italian glamour team said he would be staying until at least the end of 2016.

The Spaniard, who won his titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006, is in his second season with the sport's oldest and most successful outfit.

"The intention is to finish my career with Ferrari. I don't imagine any other better place to race," he told reporters at his home grand prix.

"I have been lucky to arrive here last year, I felt at home from day one. Alonso also refused to rule out a further contract extension in 2017.