Alonso outpaces McLarens in first session


Friday's free practice sessions might not have been that exciting, but that certainly couldn't be said of events at Pitpass' HQ.

Shortly after the end of the second free practice session, while the teams were preparing their press releases, citing it as being "just another Friday", Pitpass editor Chris Balfe was fighting flames of up to thirty foot as a fire broke out in the garden area behind the office.

Thankfully not too much damage was done, but for a while it looked bad and looked set to get out of control. However, thanks to Chris' valiant efforts with a hose - no jokes please - and the prompt arrival of the fire brigade, things were quickly brought under control.

Therefore, please forgive us for any delays yesterday afternoon, and also for the fact that the html newsletter contained the wrong times - however, we had other things on our minds.

Anyway, ahead of today's first free practice session, the air temperature is 24 degrees C, while the track temperature is 27 degrees.

The teams have now made their tyre choice for the remainder of the weekend, which in WilliamsF1's case was difficult since both Grove drivers had limited running yesterday.

At 09:00 the lights go green and Christijan Albers is first out on track, followed by Friesacher, Monteiro and Karthikeyan… all the 'usual suspects'.

Four minutes into the session, Monaco winner, Kimi Raikkonen, comes out to play, however, like the others, he returns to his garage after completing his installation lap. Moment later, teammate Juan Pablo Montoya follows suit.

Seven minutes into the session and Michael Schumacher is on track, the German, unlike his predecessors, carries on around to post the first time of the day, 1:33.881.

The German stays out and raises the benchmark with a 1:32.985, as brother Ralf leaves the Toyota garage.

Like his brother, Ralf too remains out on track, he is joined by Albers and Friesacher.

The Toyota driver goes second (34.300) as Michael improves to 1:32.886. Friesacher goes third with 1:38.645.

As Karthikeyan leaves the Jordan garage, Ralf posts a 1:33.326, which puts him 0.44s behind his brother.

As the Indian driver goes third, (36.281), Raikkonen leaves the McLaren garage, as Montoya, Fisichella and Alonso follow him down the pitlane.

The Finn immediately goes quickest in the first sector, but loses a little ground in the second. He's quickest again in the third, and consequently crosses the line at 1:32.388, outpacing Michael by 0.498s.

Next time around he's quickest in the first two sectors, finally crossing the line at 1:31.915. However, Alonso too is on a fast lap, as are Fisichella and Montoya.

In the blink of an eye, Fisichella, Montoya and finally Alonso all go second, demoting fifth.

Raikkonen improves yet again (31.573), as do Fisichella (31.778) and Montoya (31.980), however they are all leapfrogged by Alonso, who goes quickest with a 1:31.095.

Elsewhere, Coulthard, Barrichello and Webber are all on track, as are Heidfeld and Sato.

A 1:30.615 sees Alonso consolidate his position, the Renault driver now 0.95s quicker than his closest opposition.

Sato goes sixth (33.007), ahead of Ralf, Coulthard and Webber. Meanwhile Jordan's misery continues as Monteiro goes off, bringing out the yellow flags. His rear wheels appeared to lock up… very odd.

Webber leapfrogs Coulthard, as Heidfeld goes seventh with a 1:33.119.

With thirteen minutes remaining, we've yet to see Button, Villeneuve, Massa, Liuzzi or Trulli.

It's Alonso, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Montoya, Michael, Heidfeld, Ralf, Webber, Sato and Coulthard, with eleven minutes remaining.

Webber improves (32.266) to go sixth, as Villeneuve, Trulli and Massa come out.

Trulli goes tenth (33.063) and Villeneuve fourteenth (35.969), as Liuzzi and Button finally leave their garages, the last drivers to do so.

With seven minutes remaining, almost everyone is on track.

Button goes ninth with a 1:32.501, which puts him just ahead of Trulli. Meanwhile, Montoya leapfrogs his McLaren teammate with a 1:31.278. Rubens does the same to his (Ferrari) teammate, going fifth with a 1:32.078.

Villeneuve and Coulthard are both over 3s off the pace, as Barrichello consolidates fifth with a 1:31.794.

Out front, Alonso is still quickest - by 0.663s - as Sato takes tenth from his (BAR) teammate with a 1:32.483.

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

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Published: 28/05/2005
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