McLaren and Renault set early pace


Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature has risen to 31 degrees C, while the track temperature is now 45 degrees.

Ricardo Zonta is first out, as he was in the first session, followed by de la Rosa, Speed, Monteiro, Friesacher and Karthikeyan.

There are no installation laps this time around, it's straight on with the action. Zonta posts the first time (18.979) but this is quickly eclipsed by de la Rosa (18.272). Massa goes third, ahead of Speed, Karthikeyan and Friesacher.

Alonso, who didn't post a time in the first session, wastes no time in getting out on track in this session, the Spaniard going third with a 1:17.844. Teammate Fisichella quickly demotes him with a 1:17.696.

Button goes sixth (18.123), ahead of Raikkonen, Webber, Heidfeld and Speed. Moments later however, the Australian shoots to the top of the timesheets with a 1:17.088, however this is soon eclipsed by Sato (16.823).

It's fast and furious as de la Rosa goes quickest (16.575) and Michael Schumacher goes fourth (17.200).

Karthikeyan has a big spin at the Senna-S, however he is able to recover and rejoin the action.

A 1:16.902 sees Fisichella go third, behind de la Rosa and Sato, as Ralf Schumacher slips in front of his brother to take sixth.

Montoya is on a really hot lap, the Colombian going quickest in the first and second sectors. At the line it's 1:16.565, the McLaren driver goes to the top of the timesheets with his first flying lap.

His glory is short-lived however, for Alonso posts a 1:16.215, to go quickest, improving to 1:16.209 with his next lap.

The only driver yet to post a lap is Jacques Villeneuve, who remains in his garage as the Sauber crew work on his car.

Zonta goes quickest, the Toyota tester posting 1:16.173.

Still a long way to go this weekend, but the Red Bulls appear to be well off the pace, while Jordan's Narain Karthikeyan is running well.

McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa takes a staggering 0.8s out of Zonta's time, to go quickest, the first driver to break the 1:15s barrier. Meanwhile, Villeneuve finally joins in the fun, immediately going fifteenth with a 1:18.278, putting him ahead of Barrichello.

As Raikkonen improves to third (16.091), Fisichella becomes the second driver to break the 1:15s barrier, going second with a 1:15.887.

Scott Speed spins and is left stranded on the kerbs. After some hesitation the marshals run to his assistance and push him, he returns to the pits. Meanwhile, Raikkonen goes second with a 1:15.829.

As Webber improves to ninth, Montoya begins another hot lap. The Colombian goes second (15.625) as de la Rosa raises the benchmark ever higher with a 1:14.830. Next time around the Spaniard improves to 1:14.662.

Felipe Massa improves to seventh (16.727), which puts him ahead of Button, Sato, Webber and Heidfeld. Elsewhere, Coulthard improves to fourteenth.

Fernando Alonso posts 1:15.740, to go third, though he remains over 1s off de la Rosa's pace.

With fifteen minutes remaining, local hero Jacques Villeneuve goes ninth with a 1:16.718, putting him ahead of Massa, Trulli, Button and Webber.

A 1:15.852 sees Giancarlo Fisichella go sixth, as teammate Alonso consolidates third with a 1:15.680. Next time around the Spaniard improves to second with a 1:15.376.

With eight minutes remaining, the order is: de la Rosa, Alonso, Montoya, Zonta, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Sato, Button, Barrichello and Villeneuve.

Ralf improves to eighth (16.364), as Zonta goes quickest in the second sector, the Toyota tester determined to re-take his spot at the top of the timesheets. He crosses the line at 1:14.858 to go second, just 0.196 off de la Rosa's pace.

Raikkonen improves to fifth (15.679), as Fisichella also improves, but remains sixth (15.846).

In the final moments, Karthikeyan has another big spin - it looked another brake problem, as happened at the Nurburgring - he's pushed back on track and returns to the pits.

The session ends with de la Rosa still quickest - one of only two drivers to break the 1:14s barrier - ahead of Zonta, Alonso, Montoya, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Button, Sato, Ralf and Barrichello.

We've said it before and we'll say it again, a typical Friday.

That said, Ferrari is sure to be concerned at its (apparent) lack of pace - Barrichello and Schumacher finished tenth and sixteenth respectively - as will WilliamsF1 and Red Bull.

Still, early days.

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Published: 10/06/2005
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