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San Marino: Top 9 covered by 0.4s in second free practice

NEWS STORY
23/04/2005

Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature has risen to 16 degrees C, while the track temperature is now 23 degrees.

The lights go green, but nobody seems particularly anxious to go out.

Finally, almost three minutes into the session, Tonio Liuzzi leaves the Red Bull garage.

The Italian sets the benchmark - 1:23.789 - as Jenson Button, Jacques Villeneuve and Takuma Sato emerge from their garages.

Sato posts 1:23.541 to go quickest, as Button goes third only to be bumped down by Villeneuve (23.805). Moments later however, it's all-change, as Wurz goes quickest with a 1:23.126.

Not to be outdone, Sato posts 1:23.005 to take the top spot, as Ralf Schumacher, Fisichella and Trulli all posts times.

As Sato improves (22.332), Michael Schumacher - pacesetter in the first session - comes out, as does Kimi Raikkonen.

As Fisichella goes second (22.961), Michael Schumacher is on a blindingly quick lap, going fastest in the first two sectors. However a mistake in the final sector means he loses mountains of time.

Next time around he once again goes quickest in the first two sectors, this time however, he maintains his pace, and crosses the line at 1:21.326, to go quickest ahead of Raikkonen, Sato, Fisichella and Wurz. Ralf Schumacher is sixth, ahead of Coulthard, Liuzzi, Villeneuve and Button.

Monteiro's misery continues, the Portuguese driver stops in the second sector.

Felipe Massa improves to fourth with a 1:22.415, as Karthikeyan and Barrichello emerge from their garages. Further along the pitlane the Renault mechanics are working on Fernando Alonso's car - the Spaniard has only completed 12 laps this weekend.

Massa improves to third with a 1:22.169, as Trulli goes twelfth. Elsewhere, Button improves to sixth as Massa goes quickest of all in the second sector. The Brazilian loses time in the final sector - particularly the final chicane - but still manages to improve to second, 0.549s off Schumacher's pace.

As Fernando Alonso finally emerges from his garage, Rubens Barrichello goes fourth with a 1:22.153. Next time around, the Brazilian goes quickest (1:21.289), having gone quickest in the second and third sectors.

Alonso's first lap is a hot one, the Spaniard goes third with a 1:21.626, just 0.337s off Barrichello's benchmark.

Elsewhere, having improved to fourth, Jacques Villeneuve goes quickest in the second sector, which is enough to lift him to third overall (21.543).

With seventeen minutes remaining, there's a flurry of activity, with both McLaren drivers on hot laps. Raikkonen goes quickest, posting the best time of the day thus far (1:20.209), as teammate Wurz slots in behind with a 1:20.358.

Moments later, Ralf Schumacher is the third driver to break the 1:20s barrier today, the Toyota star going third with a 1:20.802.

However, Jenson Button has every intention of spoiling the party, the Englishman going quickest of all in the first sector. He loses ground in the second sector, but makes it up again in the third to go quickest with a 1:20.058. Elsewhere, Michael Schumacher has improved to third (20.318) and Coulthard to sixth (21.136).

With just over twelve minutes remaining, only Webber and the Minardi duo have failed to post a time, indeed the Faenza drivers haven't even emerged from their garages in this session.

Webber finally comes out, and immediately goes thirteenth (21.973) as Massa improves to fifth (20.506).

With ten minutes remaining, it's Button ahead of Raikkonen, Michael, Wurz, Massa, Ralf, Trulli, Coulthard, Barrichello and Villeneuve.

Moments later, Barrichello posts 1:20.851 to go seventh.

Giancarlo Fisichella is on a hot lap, the Roman goes quickest in the second sector. He loses a little ground in the third sector, but a 1:20.354 is good enough for fourth, splitting Michael and Wurz. Next time around, the Melbourne winner improves, but remains fourth.

Still no sign of the Minardis, however, this is the PS05s first weekend - literally - and problems were bound to arise. The word from Faenza is that the team is mighty encouraged.

Fernando Alonso goes quickest in the first sector, but loses time in the second. He's only marginally off the pace in the final sector, but still manages to go second with a 1:20.114.

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