McLaren quickest as Ralf crashes


As the cars line up in the pitlane for today's second free practice session, the air temperature is 24 degrees C, while the track temperature has risen to 43 degrees.

As the lights go green, Patrick Friesacher is first out, followed by Speed, de la Rosa, Monteiro, Zonta, and Albers.

Once again it is the Spaniard who sets the pace, posting 1:13.709, while Speed goes second with a 1:15.722, 2.01s off the pace.

Massa, an early riser, goes seventh (17.643), the Sauber not looking too competitive in the first session.

Zonta goes off in the second sector, as Kimi Raikkonen - who failed to post a time in the first session - goes second with a 1:14.082. Massa improves (14.252) to go third, ahead of Speed, Monteiro and Doornbos. The Brazilian is out of his Toyota, looking fine, but clearly wondering what happened.

Next time around the Finn goes quickest, crossing the line at 1:11.489, while Nick Heidfeld takes third spot (13.528).

Nick's moment of glory doesn't last long, as fellow German, Michael Schumacher, takes third with a 1:13.162. Teammate Barrichello goes fourth, ahead of Coulthard.

It's a McLaren 1-2 as Juan Pablo Montoya goes second (12.382), ahead of an ever-improving Coulthard (12.633).

With 12 minutes of the session completed, the red flags come out as Ralf Schumacher spins and then crashes heavily into the safety barriers on the banked curve, bringing back memories of his horrific crash here last year.

Thankfully he's out of the car and looking fine, though his Toyota is badly damaged. It appears that the crash was the result of a puncture to his left-rear. Indeed, it's understood that teammate Zonta's off was also the result of a puncture. Luckily, Ralf's 'angle of attack' when hitting the wall, was nowhere near as bad as in 2004, furthermore, the preceding spin 'wiped off' much of his speed.

As the marshals clear debris from the track, the order is: Raikkonen, ahead of Montoya, Coulthard, de la Rosa, Trulli, Michael, Barrichello, Heidfeld, Villeneuve and Massa.

After almost twenty-one minutes, the green flags are waved, the pitlane exit light also turns green, the session is back underway.

Michelin reveals that both punctures were caused by low tyre pressure and have advised the teams to increase tyre pressures.

Doornbos is first out, followed by Friesacher and Webber.

Pedro de la Rosa goes second (12.119), as Fisichella goes fifth (12.779). Elsewhere, Rubens Barrichello goes quickest in the second sector, going on to cross the line at 1:11.746, and thereby go second.

Teammate Michael Schumacher makes it a Ferrari 2-3 as he posts 1:11.758, closing to within 0.269s of Raikkonen's benchmark.

The Red Bulls have upped their pace, Klien goes seventh, slotting in behind teammate Coulthard.

Although there are many cars on track, there is little change to the order. That said, Kimi Raikkonen goes quickest in the second and third sectors, crossing the line at 1:11.228.

The busiest man, thus far, is Scott Speed, who has completed 23 laps, but remains twentieth, 3.33s off the pace.

Juan Pablo Montoya raises the benchmark with a 1:11.118, giving the Woking team 1-2, as David Coulthard goes fifth (12.076). Elsewhere, Doornbos improves to sixteenth, which puts him ahead of Webber.

Fastest through the speed-trap is de la Rosa, who breaks the beam at 216 mph.

Toyota's sole runner, Jarno Trulli, goes ninth (12.777), which puts him ahead of Fisichella, Button and Sato. Moments later however, teammate, Fernando Alonso, goes seventh, 1.14s off the pace.

Scott Speed appears to be on a quick-ish lap, posting personal bests in the first and second sectors. He crosses the line at 1:13.801, which puts him eighteenth.

Zonta returns to the fray, the Toyota crew having repaired his suspension. Minutes later he posts his first time of the session, crossing the line at 1:13.567, to go eighteenth.

Giancarlo Fisichella has a big spin across the grass, but is able to continue. Meanwhile his former (Renault) teammate, Jarno Trulli, improves to eighth (12.344).

Nick Heidfeld goes quickest in the second sector, going on to cross the line at 1:11.825, which puts him fifth, behind the McLarens and Ferraris.

With just over three minutes remaining, there are 15 drivers on track, though no signs of any major changes to the order.

That said, Webber posts 1:12.578 to go thirteenth. Elsewhere, Speed improves to eighth with a 1:12.143, which means that there are 3 Red Bulls in the top eight.

The session ends with Montoya and Raikkonen topping the timesheets for McLaren, ahead of Barrichello, Michael, Heidfeld, Coulthard, de la Rosa, Speed, Alonso and Trulli.

Fisichella is eleventh, ahead of Massa, Webber, Klien, Button, Sato, Villeneuve, Doornbos, Zonta, Friesacher, Albers, Karthikeyan and Monteiro, with Ralf Schumacher failing to post a time.

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Published: 17/06/2005
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