Hamilton quickest in final free practice


Ahead of this morning's free practice session the air temperature is 34 degrees C, and the track temperature is 52 degrees. It is bright and sunny, with humidity currently running at 52 percent. A storm is forecast for later this afternoon.

While Renault made an improvement yesterday afternoon, especially after its poor showing in the morning, all eyes will be on Honda, which had a dreadful day.

The lights go green and albers leads the way, followed by Sato, Trulli, Heidfeld, Kubica, Sutil and Schumacher.

While yesterday was a free for all, today the teams are using the engines they will use tomorrow, the engines they used in Melbourne. Which, according to Ferrari, wont be a problem for Kimi Raikkonen.

While most of the drivers return to their garages, having completed an installation lap, the Super Aguris stay out. Sato posts the first time of the day, but this is immediately eclipsed by his teammate, Anthony Davidson (38.167). There is every chance that we could see Super Aguri embarrass Honda this weekend.

Asked how the car feels, Scott Speed responds: "Everything seems OK…. Except the drinks bottle doesn't work".

"Yeh, that's normal," is the reply.

The Super Aguris continue, joined now by Heidfeld, Kubica and Sutil. Kovalainen, Massa and Raikkonen are the only drivers that haven't been out yet.

As Albers and Sutil posts their first times of the day, Heidfeld goes quickest in the first two sectors. Teammate Kubica is also on a hot lap.

The German takes top spot with a 36.365, but this is soon beaten by the Pole, who crosses the line at 36.004.

Kubica, Heidfeld, Trulli, Davidson, Schumacher, Sato, Albers and Sutil, with 45 minutes remaining.

Button goes fourth with a 37.641, while moments later Barrichello posts 38.271 to go eighth. Both cars locking up at various points around the track.

All eyes on yesterday's pace setter, Felipe Massa, who, on his first flying lap, goes quickest by 0.480. The Ferraris continuing to impress.

A 35.693 sees Lewis Hamilton go second, ahead of Kubica, Heidfeld and Speed.

As Massa improves (35.332), Alonso is also on track, going quickest in the second sector. The Spaniard goes third with a 35.703.

David Coulthard posts 36.273 to go third, as Raikkonen watches his monitor impassively, like fellow-Finn Kovalainen, he has yet to make an appearance.

The Spykers remain rooted to the bottom of the timesheets, the new aero package clearly not making an immediate impression.

There is much activity in the Renault garage, with the mechanics working on all three cars. While Kovalainen wait, Fisichella is finally given the signal to go out and post a time. The Italian posts 37.797, which puts him thirteenth, 2.7s off Massa's pace.

With twenty-seven minutes remaining, Raikkonen finally leaves the comfort of his Ferrari garage. No such luck for Kovalainen, who waits in the Renault garage while his mechanics work on his car. It appears he's going out in the spare car which has been fitted with his engine.

The Melbourne winner gets all crossed up as he's told to "set multifunction ten to fast" by Chris Dyer. Moments later the Finn crosses the line at 1:35.498 to go second.

Therefore, with twenty-four minutes remaining, its Ferrari, McLaren and BMW. Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld complains of graining, especially at the start of a run.

Hamilton is back on track, and quickest in the first two sectors. The Englishman loses a little ground in the final sector, but still manages to go quickest with a 34.811.

A beautiful, but time costing and tyre wearing, slide from Alex Wurz, as the Austrian attempts to improve on tenth. Elsewhere, the Hondas are fifteenth and sixteenth, and showing no signs of improvement, certainly in the short term.

Fernando Alonso is on track, keen to eclipse his precocious young teammate, and the Spaniard himself only a whippersnapper of a boy.

The World Champion improves to second (35.311), but Massa is already on a hot lap. Sure enough, the Brazilian goes second with a 35.175, even though none of his sectors was that impressive.

Albers has completed the most laps (17), but remains rooted at the bottom of the timesheets, with Ralf, Webber, Davidson and Spyker teammate Adrian Sutil.

Robert Kubica moves up to fourth, leapfrogging Raikkonen, having set personal bests in all three sectors. Elsewhere, with twelve minutes remaining, Kovalainen finally leaves the pits.

Button improves to eleventh, slotting in behind Sato, as Kovalainen returns to the pits. A frustrating morning for the Finn, who had such a torrid time in Melbourne.

As he struggles to improve, Button is almost a second down on Hamilton in the first sector. How frustrating must that be? He fails to improve, and to add to his frustration he is bumped down to twelfth by Liuzzi, who posts 36.297 to go ninth.

Fisichella is back on track, the Italian currently sixteenth on the timesheets. The Renault number one improves to eleventh with a 36.434, but is instantly demoted by Schumacher who takes seventh spot.

Rubens Barrichello is really struggling, working the wheel like crazy, complaining that "the back is still dragging". At the second split he's 1.8s down. "Set TC Control to 4," he's told, in the hope that will solve his problem(s).

All the big guns are on track as Kovalainen goes seventeenth.

Alonso sets a personal best in the second sector but loses ground in the third. Meanwhile, Rosberg improves to sixth, the only significant improvement in the dying moments of the session.

As the final free practice session draws to a close, it's Hamilton ahead of Massa, Alonso, Kubica, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Heidfeld, Davidson, Schumacher and Webber.

Over the next couple of hours, several teams have a hell of a lot of work to do, most notably Renault and Honda.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 07/04/2007
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.