Fisichella quickest in first Saturday session

07/05/2005
NEWS STORY

In the absence of BAR and the various 'third drivers', only 18 drivers will be in action for the remainder of the weekend.

Ahead of the start of the first of today's two forty-five minute sessions, the air temperature is a cool 14 degrees C, while the track temperature is 16 degrees.

One driver who will be keen to get out on track is Mark Webber, who missed both of yesterday's sessions as he awaited a new engine from Munich.

When the lights go green, Tonio Liuzzi is first out, followed by Albers, who had limited track time on Friday following a spin and a mechanical failure, Friesacher, Monteiro, Karthikeyan and Kimi Raikkonen.

The Red Bull driver posts the benchmark (1:18.761), as Juan Pablo Montoya leaves his garage, the Colombian showing no after effects of yesterday's nasty crash.

Although Liuzzi completes 5 laps, his rivals return to their respective garages after one installation lap. Business as usual.

Ten minutes into the session, Mark Webber leaves the WilliamsF1 garage to begin his first lap of the weekend. Having completed his installation lap, the Australian carries on around and raises the benchmark to 1:18.751.

His next lap is even better, the WilliamsF1 driver crossing the line at 1:18.064, the 'defect' in the BMW engine apparently having been 'sorted'. Friesacher and albers both post times, but they are both over 4.6s off the pace, though the Austrian is quickest through the speed-trap (again).

Twenty minutes into the session, Michael Schumacher emerges from the Ferrari garage, as Albers gets to within 3.1s of Webber's benchmark.

On his first flying lap, Schumacher takes 0.3s out of Webber in the first sector. The German crosses the line at 1:17.590, eclipsing the Australian's time by 0.466.

Next time around the German is even quicker in the first two sectors, but then opts to dive back into his garage.

As the Ferrari drivers into its garage, Rubens Barrichello leaves his, as do Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher. Elsewhere, Liuzzi is back on track and improves to 1:18.121.

The Scot goes second with a 1:17.922, as Ralf goes fifth (19.099) and Barrichello sixth (20.591).

Moments later, Schumacher, the younger, posts 1:17.439, to go quickest, as Barrichello improves to fourth. The Toyota driver improves again (1:16.734), as does Barrichello (1:16.748), as Alonso leaves his garage to rapturous applause from the grandstands. Nick Heidfeld is also on track.

With 15 minutes remaining, it's Ralf ahead of Barrichello, Michael, Coulthard, Webber, Liuzzi, Monteiro, Albers and Friesacher.

As Trulli leaves his garage, Karthikeyan goes eighth, and Heidfeld tenth, the German, of course, forfeiting ten grid places following his engine change.

As the WilliamsF1 driver improves to sixth, Michael Schumacher also improves, but remains third, behind Ralf and Rubens.

With 11 minutes remaining, n the McLarens, Renaults or Saubers. That said, Montoya and Alonso are back on track.

A 1:15.735 sees Michael go quickest, eclipsing his brother by 0.999s. Meanwhile, a 1:17.615, sees Heidfeld leapfrog his WilliamsF1 teammate to go fourth.

Not to be out-done, Tonio Liuzzi posts 1:16.697, to go second, albeit 0.962s off Schumacher's pace.

As Raikkonen goes ninth (18.103), Liuzzi improves with a 1:16.241, the Red Bulls looking much better than they did at Imola.

Raikkonen improves to fifth, but remains 1.6s off the pace, while Massa can only manage twelfth, and Sauber teammate, Villeneuve, fifteenth.

Another 'early bath' for Albers, who has yet to complete a session this weekend, the Minardi spinning off in the final sector.

Fisichella's first hot lap saw the Roman go tenth, next time around he improves to third (16.308), just 0.573s off Schumacher's pace.

With four minutes remaining, Montoya and Alonso have yet to post a time.

Giancarlo Fisichella goes quickest, the Renault driver crossing the line at 1:15.694, as Barrichello grabs third with a 1:16.004. The Melbourne winner consolidates his position at the top of the timesheets by posting a 1:15.605.

Ralf Schumacher improves (1:15.934) to third, eclipsing Barrichello, as Coulthard goes sixth, and Montoya seventh. Michael also improves, closing to within 0.026s of Fisichella.

The session ends with Fisichella quickest, ahead of Michael, Ralf, Barrichello, Liuzzi, Coulthard, Montoya, Raikkonen, Heidfeld and Webber.

The only driver not to post a time was Fernando Alonso, which in all honesty is not much fun for the thousands of fans that have travelled here to support him.

However, that's contemporary F1 for you.

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Published: 07/05/2005
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