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McLaren and Renault lead the way

NEWS STORY
28/05/2005

Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature is 25 degrees C, while the track temperature is 36 degrees.

This weekend, of course, we will only have one qualifying session, the Sunday session, and thereby the aggregate times, having been scrapped.

The moment the pitlane lights turn green, Tonio Liuzzi is on track, the Italian posting the benchmark (1:34.415). Kimi Raikkonen is also eager to get to work, as are Trulli, Ralf and Villeneuve.

Next time around, Liuzzi posts 1:34.027, however, this is soon obliterated by Raikkonen, who goes 2.4s faster.

Trulli also eclipses the Red Bull driver's time, the Toyota star posting 1:31.738, as teammate Ralf Schumacher goes third (32.468).

Raikkonen raise the benchmark ever higher, the Finn posting a 1:31.539, as Alonso and Fisichella go fourth and fifth.

A 1:31.287 sees Montoya go quickest, as Sato, Michael and Heidfeld begin their first flying laps of the session.

Coulthard, Michael and Sato cross the line almost as one, the Scot (32.971), being the quickest of the trio. Heidfeld's time (31.612) is good enough for third.

As Webber goes seventh, Montoya consolidates his position at the top of the timesheets with a 1:31.116.

After the initial burst of activity, things quieten down a little, with Montoya heading the timesheets from Raikkonen, Trulli, Heidfeld, Ralf, Alonso, Webber and Button. Michael is ninth, ahead of Fisichella and Coulthard.

Twenty-five minutes into the session, and from out of nowhere, Alonso produces a 1:29.987, to eclipse Montoya by 1.129s. That's the fastest lap of the weekend, by some margin.

Moments later, Raikkonen goes quickest in the second sector, going on to cross the line at an amazing 1:29.798.

Meanwhile, Sato goes third, and Button fourth, edging out the previous pace-setter, Juan Pablo Montoya.

The Colombian isn't done however, and produces a 1:29.789 to reclaim the top spot.

With fifteen minutes remaining, it's Montoya, ahead of Raikkonen, Alonso, Sato, Button, Michael, Trulli, Heidfeld, Ralf and Fisichella. However, moments later, Trulli and Michael trade places.

A 1:30.552 sees Trulli improve to fourth, as fellow Italian, Liuzzi, goes eighth with a 1:31.572.

Giancarlo Fisichella improves with a 1:30.071 to go fourth, as Ralf posts a 1:30.692 to go seventh, which puts him ahead of Button, Michael and Liuzzi.

With three minutes remaining, it's chaos as everyone wants to get out there and do some last minute tweaking.

Villeneuve improves to fifteenth (33.140), which puts him ahead of his teammate, however, the Saubers remain rooted firmly at the wrong end of the timesheet.

Up front it's almost perfect symmetry, McLarens, Renaults, Toyotas, BARs and Ferraris.

Kimi Raikkonen reclaims the top spot from his teammate with a 1:29.680, as Heidfeld improves (30.559) to go sixth.

It's Raikkonen ahead of Montoya, Alonso, Fisichella, Trulli, Heidfeld, Sato, Ralf, Button and Michael.

Barrichello is eleventh ahead of Liuzzi, Webber, Massa, Coulthard, Villeneuve, Albers, Monteiro, Karthikeyan and Friesacher.

It has to be said that both the McLarens and the Renaults look good here, and fifth placed Trulli is around 0.5s off the pace of the slowest of the leading quartet.

The Toyotas look OK, as do the BARs and WilliamsF1s, while we're sure that Ferrari has a surprise up its sleeve for qualifying.

However, based on what we've seen thus far, expect either Kimi, Fernando or Giancarlo to add to their win tally tomorrow, with Juan Pablo most definitely in the hunt.

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