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Raikkonen continues to set Silverstone pace

NEWS STORY
07/07/2007

Clearly the 'weather gods' feel that the good people of Silverstone deserve time off for good behaviour. For, ahead of this morning's free practice session, the Northamptonshire track is bathed in bright…. wait for it… sunshine!

That said, it's not exactly warm, with the air temperature currently 18 degrees C and the track temperature 30 degrees. OK, it's not exactly tropical but it is a start, and it is only 10-o-clock in the morning after all.

Following his back twinges yesterday, which caused him to sit out the second session, Jenson Button is back in the Honda.

The lights go green and Christijan Albers leads Trulli, Sutil, Schumacher and Davidson as the day's activities get underway.

Having only contested the first session, Button is keen to get in some more track time, consequently, while other complete a sole installation lap, he stays out to post the first time of the day (1:24.438).

Eight minutes into the session, everyone has been out except for the Ferrari drivers. Back on track, Button raises the benchmark to 23.751.

As Button improves to 23.386, he is joined by Albers, Trulli, Sutil, Davidson, Sato and Kubica.

Trulli knocks Button from the top spot but Kubica is already on a hot lap. As Davidson goes third, ahead of Sutil, Albers and Sato, the Pole posts a 22.827 to go quickest. However, moments later Trulli improves to 22.427, eclipsing the Pole by 0.380.

Davidson is demoted to fourth when Tonio Liuzzi goes third with a 22.881. Moments later the Italian is eclipsed by his American teammate, who posts 22.775.

It's fast and furious, as Liuzzi goes quickest (21.933), only to be beaten by Kubica, who crosses the line at 21.863. Heidfeld is also on track, the German posting 22.247 to go sixth.

Kubica has a problem. He slows down in the entry to Becketts and for a moment it looks as though he is allowing other cars to pass. However, he continues down the Hangar Straight at low speed, his BMW clearly in trouble.

Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen has picked up where he left off yesterday, going quickest with a 20.886. As Kubica heads back into his garage, teammate Heidfeld goes second (21.609).

Schumacher goes second and Rosberg third, giving Germany a 2-3-4, behind Raikkonen, who improves (slightly) to 20.881. Meanwhile Trulli tells his crew that his engine doesn't sound as good as it did yesterday. They don't make 'em like they used to Jarno, they don't make 'em like they used to.

Speed is fifth, ahead of Kovalainen, Fisichella, Kubica and Liuzzi, as Massa comes out to play.

As Kovalainen improves to fourth, Alonso leaves the pits.

Massa posts 20.865 to go second, as teammate Raikkonen improves with a 20.607. The Brazilian is on the edge through Becketts.

On his first flying lap Alonso goes second (20.611), but Raikkonen and Massa both improve, thereby retaining the Ferrari 1-2.

As Hamilton begins his first flying lap, Alonso posts 20.168 to take the top spot. Davidson and Button have completed the most laps (10) but remain seventeenth and eighteenth.

Hamilton posts 21.609 to go eighth, however, next time around he improves to fourth (20.876), despite never looking that convincing.

Webber goes ninth, ahead of Wurz, Speed, Fisichella and Kubica, as Massa posts a personal best in the first sector. Despite looking as though he's going to improve, the Brazilian opts to dive into the pits.

At half-time, it's: Alonso, Raikkonen, Massa, Hamilton, Schumacher, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Webber and Wurz.

A 21.378 sees Speed go sixth, splitting Schumacher and Rosberg.

The McLaren crew is working furiously on Hamilton's car, while two crew members appear to be painting one of the nose cones. Lesser sites would probably says that they're airbrushing out the Ferrari logos - but Pitpass is above all that nonsense.

Button tells his crew that the circuit appears to have more grip - other than Turn 13 - and that the car feels a lot better, particularly under braking.

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