Hamilton quickest in final practice session


Ahead of today's sole free practice session the air temperature is 25 degrees C, while the track temperature is 37 degrees. It remains bright and sunny.

The lights go green, and the Spykers lead the way, followed by Davidson, Kubica, Liuzzi, Trulli, Sato and Heidfeld.

Three minutes into the session, Hamilton and Alonso head down the pitlane, Kimi Raikkonen is still making his way to the Ferrari garage from the motorhome. As he does his installation lap Alonso weaves to the crowd. Seventeen drivers have been out, but no times as yet.

That said, both Toyota drivers are back on track. It's the Italian who posts the first time of the day (24.373), with the German crossing the line, moments later, at 24.420.

As the Spykers leave the pits, only the Ferraris and Fisichella have yet to make an appearance. Sutil gets all out of shape, yet still manages to go third, ahead of teammate Albers. Meanwhile, Ralf Schumacher has improved with a 23.531, only for Trulli to go even quicker (23.261).

Tonio Liuzzi goes third, ahead of Sato, Barrichello and Davidson, Aguri Suzuki watches impassively from the pit wall.

Nick Heidfeld goes quickest in the first sector, as Davidson has a major lock-up. Despite losing ground in the second sector, Heidfeld goes second, as teammate Kubica goes third, having gone quickest in the final sector.

Eighteen minutes into the session, Alonso heads down the pitlane, as Massa, having completed his installation lap, continues round to begin his first flying lap of the day. The Brazilian goes fifth, behind Heidfeld, Trulli, speed and Kubica.

As the Ferrari driver improves to top spot (22.214), Alonso goes quickest in the first sector. The World Champion crosses the line at 22.178 to go quickest, as Hamilton begins his flying lap.

Alonso improves (21.893), as Raikkonen finally leaves the pits. Meanwhile, Hamilton goes second with a 22.172.

Michael Schumacher watches from the garage - no flowery shorts today - as Raikkonen goes sixth with a 22.806, 0.913s off Alonso's pace.

Coulthard has yet to make an appearance, while neither of the Red Bull drivers has posted a time.

Raikkonen goes quickest in the second sector, as Hamilton goes quickest in the first. The Finn takes the top spot (21.874), as Hamilton gets all out of shape in the second, thereby spoiling the lap. That said, it was a lovely bit of car control, especially in super slow-mo.

Webber goes seventh with a 22.787, as Raikkonen goes quickest in the second sector. Elsewhere, Hamilton goes fifteenth, ahead of Button, Sato, Sutil, albers and Barrichello. Honda's misery showing no sign of respite this weekend.

Coulthard goes quickest in the final sector, which is enough to see him go third overall behind Raikkonen and Alonso. Meanwhile, Fisichella is finally on track.

With twenty-five minutes remaining, it's: Raikkonen, Alonso, Coulthard, Hamilton, Massa, Trulli, Rosberg, Webber, Schumacher and Heidfeld.

Going quickest in the final sector is enough to promote Massa to second, thereby giving Ferrari 1-2. Next time around the Brazilian improves to 21.672 to take the top spot.

As Massa improves yet again (21.659), Hamilton goes quickest in the first sector. The Englishman is quickest again in the second and final sectors, crossing the line at 1:21.233, taking almost half-a-second off Massa. At the other end of the timesheets, fellow Englishman languishes in eighteenth, 2.6s off the pace. His Brazilian teammate, Rubens Barrichello, is last, 3.1s off the pace.

Albers goes wide, resulting in a very, very bumpy ride over the grass. Meanwhile, Alonso goes quickest in the first sector. The Spaniard is unable to maintain the pace and consequently remains fourth.

Anthony Davidson goes seventh, with fifteen minutes remaining. Teammate, Takuma Sato, is still down in nineteenth.

Button goes ninth, the Englishman posting a 22.744, meanwhile, Coulthard goes third, splitting the McLarens and Ferraris. Sato also improves, the Super Aguri driver posting 22.508 to go seventh.

Speed, on the harder compound, goes eighth, a good lap from the young American. Rosberg is told that on a lot of his exits he's two-metres behind Alex (Wurz). As Button returns to his garage, the Honda crew continues to work franticly on his teammate's car.

Kubica, on the softer compound, sets a personal best in the first sector, and again in the second. He's quickest of all in the final sector, which is enough to see him go second, just 0.131s behind Hamilton.

Barrichello is back on track, and immediately goes eleventh, ahead of Schumacher, Rosberg, Button and Webber.

All eyes on Heidfeld, who is on the softer compound. He sets a personal best in the first sector, and goes quickest in the second, despite going a little wide. At the line it's 1:21.464, which puts him third, behind his teammate.

With three minutes remaining, all but four drivers are on track.

As Massa posts a personal best in the second sector, Hamilton goes quickest in the first. Elsewhere, Wurz has a big moment.

Hamilton improves to 21.233, as Alonso posts personal bests in the first two sectors. The Spaniard goes second (21.312) as Hamilton locks-up. Meanwhile, Coulthard goes fifth behind the McLarens and BMWs.

The session ends, with Hamilton setting up the prospect of a thrilling qualifying session, which should have the partisan crowd in the grandstands and much of the press room, taking opposing sides.

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Published: 12/05/2007
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