|A happy Fernando Alonso|
Fernando Alonso topped the second Magny-Cours practice session using soft Bridgestone tires and brought smiles to the fans and home team Renault.
Felipe Massa, who set fast time in the morning practice had to settle for second in his Ferrari, ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel was an impressive fifth for Toro Rosso, while points leader Robert Kubica (BMW) completed the top six and Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen took seventh.
Felipe Massa was 'Man Friday' at Magny-Cours, even though he suffered with a stiff neck and didn't run as many laps as his closest rivals. His morning supremacy was unchallenged even throughout the afternoon session, when he was P2 to Fernando Alonso's low-fuel flyer. Kimi Raikkonen ended the afternoon a tenth slower. "I get the impression we are very competitive," said the Finn, who is less able than Massa to get the best out of the tires on the first lap.
A day of contrasts for Fernando Alonso: an engine failure in the morning when he was P6, and then P1 - in front of Renault's home crowd - in the afternoon, although the lap time was not as quick as Massa's from the morning. Engineering boss Pat Symonds said of Alonso's P1: "We know that this is not always a true indication of our ultimate level of performance." Nelson Piquet was P11 and P9 respectively.
Lewis Hamilton was the fastest behind the flying Massa in the morning, but his afternoon progress was hampered by a few mistakes, including a trip into the gravel that cracked his front wing. Heikki Kovalainen was on the pace in the morning and then P7 - a tenth slower than Hamilton - in the afternoon.
Sebastian Vettel was P8 in the morning, and then he improved his time to be P5 in the second session. "You never know what fuel the others were running, but it's better than being 20th!" he enthused. Local driver Sebastien Bourdais was not quite on his teammate's pace, but the gap shrank to half a second by the end of the afternoon.
Robert Kubica was heard reporting an engine misfire during practice, admitting "technical problems" afterwards, but he stayed in the top-six all day. Nick Heidfeld, who did not take part in the FIA safety car rule test at the end of the afternoon session after damaging the floor of his car, ended the session just over a tenth off the Pole's pace.
David Coulthard kicked off the weekend with better pace than his teammate Mark Webber. "It's a good thing it isn't Saturday," said the Australian, after going 16th quickest in the afternoon with his best effort of the day.
After a top-ten morning, both TF108s dropped off the pace in the afternoon, with Jarno Trulli always slightly quicker than Timo Glock. "The tires are just not working for me at the moment," Glock said.
Nico Rosberg did not feature among the top ten on Friday, but he said he might "compromise" his pace for qualifying to account for his ten-position grid penalty. Kazuki Nakajima was a few tenths slower.
A Honda-powered car never rose above Rubens Barrichello's morning 15th, and the Brazilian sunk to 19th in the afternoon. "We were expecting the car to perform better around this circuit," he said.
A bad day for Adrian Sutil: a brake problem in the morning, and still dead last in the afternoon. Giancarlo Fisichella ended the afternoon 18th. "We are still relatively far away from the others," said the Roman, who is not a fan of the Magny-Cours track.