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Heidfeld quickest in final session

NEWS STORY
06/09/2008

Ahead of today's free practice session, the air temperature is 16 degrees C, while the track temperature is 16 degrees. Following heavy overnight rain, the track remains damp, consequently, the session is declared wet. Although the sun is trying to break through, it remains cool… to put it mildly.

As ever, the Force India lead the way, and within minutes seventeen cars are on track.

It's all over before it has even begun for Button, who slows and parks his Honda by the side of the track on the downhill run just after leaving the pits

"It's try in places, but a little bit damp in others," says Rosberg. "What about dry tyres," ask his crew, "just leave them," is the immediate response.

As the drivers sit in their garages waiting for the track to dry, the lens on the helicopter camera indicate that there is moisture in the air.

After eleven minutes, Heidfeld breaks the deadlock and heads down the pitlane, followed by Bourdais. Meanwhile, Fisichella is told that there will be rain within the next few minutes, at which point he will go out for a wet run.

Heidfeld begins the first flying lap of the day. There's a dry line, but for how much longer?

The German crosses the line at 2:00.227, with Bourdais posting 1:59.674 just moments later. Massa, still wearing his anorak, watches from the Ferrari garage, along with Rob Smedley.

There are a few spots of rain on Bourdais' onboard camera, as Fisichella, Sutil and Vettel leave the pits. Vettel is on the soft (medium) compound, as the replay show Sutil taking to the grass.

Alonso, Piquet, Trulli and Glock get to work, as Vettel goes third (2:02.488). Meanwhile, Bourdais goes quickest in the first sector, finally crossing the line at 58.992.

Trulli and glock are both on good laps, and both appear to be on intermediates. The German goes quickest with a 58.685, as Alonso goes second and Trulli fifth.

Piquet (inters) posts 58.393 to go quickest, only to be demoted by Webber (58.370) moments later.

Clearly, at the present time, intermediates are the way to go, as Glock improves with a 58.312.

While the big guns opt to wait a break in the weather, the dark clouds in the distance look ominous. Indeed, some of the onboard footage give the appearance that its night-time, it's that dark.

David Coulthard posts 57.848, but is immediately beaten by Heidfeld, who raises the benchmark with a 57.015. Elsewhere, F1 and SportsCar legend Jacky Ickx greets the Ferrari crew.

Vettel (inters) goes quickest in the first two sectors, finally crossing the line at 55.192. His performance has the guys on the Ferrari pit-wall smiling… even Ickx will have appreciated that.

With twenty-six minutes remaining, just twelve names on the timesheets.

Having gone quickest in the final two sectors, Glock goes second with a 55.353. Therefore, it's now; Vettel, Glock, Heidfeld, Coulthard and Webber. Next time around, Glock is quickest in all three sectors, crossing the line at 52.514.

As Glock gets all crossed up at La Source, having consolidated his position at the top of the timesheets, Nakajima goes second with a 54.666. Elsewhere, Raikkonen heads down the pitlane.

Next time around, Nakajima goes quickest (52.122) and teammate Rosberg goes third. However, all eyes are on Raikkonen who goes sixth (53.823).

As Rosberg goes quickest (51.236), Coulthard is told, "there's no rain on the radar at all". Elsewhere, Raikkonen gets it wrong at the final chicane and at La Source, thereby screwing up two laps.

The harder option dry now seems the tyre to be on, as Bourdais goes quickest with a 50.074.

With thirteen minutes remaining, still no sign of Hamilton, Kovalainen or Massa. At which point, the tyre-warmers come off and Hamilton heads down the pitlane.

A 49.993 sees Kubica go quickest, ahead of Bourdais, Glock, Webber and Rosberg. However, Sutil in on a hot lap. Indeed, the German goes sixth with 50.545.

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