Ferrari continues to set Magny-Cours pace


Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature is 20 degrees C, and the track temperature is 32 degrees. It is overcast, but the shine is trying to shine through.

We understand that Hamilton's problem this morning was due to the engine protection system shutting down the engine because it was too cool. Adrian Sutil lost track-time due to a hydraulic problem, wile Kubica was out late because the "asymmetric steering forces were incorrect". Whatever they are!!

With Takuma Sato causing a traffic jam at the start of the first session, this time it's Davidson who is in the wars. As the Englishman drives out of his garage he is clouted by Liuzzi, damaging the front wing on the Super Aguri. As his mechanics repair the damage, checking the front suspension, in a masterpiece of understatement Davidson comments; "it's very tight in the pitlane".

Back on track, with less than five minutes of the session gone, ten drivers have posted times, with Speed heading Kubica and Heidfeld.

Fisichella goes quickest (17.190), but Hamilton is already on a hot lap, going quickest in sectors one and two. At the line the McLaren drivers posts 16.276, going quickest by almost a second.

Fisichella is really hitting the kerbs, as the Italian loses second spot to David Coulthard in the Red Bull.

Felipe Massa is on track, however, with the Brazilian locking up heavily at a number of corners he can only manage a 17.362, which puts him sixth. Next time around there are no such mistakes, the Ferrari driver goes quickest with a 16.198.

As Kimi Raikkonen leaves the pits, Fernando Alonso goes third, slotting in between Hamilton and Coulthard.

On his first flying lap Raikkonen goes second, crossing the line at 16.199. Meanwhile, Rosberg is advised that he has graining to his left-front and at the rear. Replays show Raikkonen is also hitting the kerbs with tremendous force, particularly at the final chicane.

The 'green' track and cool temperatures are causing problems for a number of drivers, including Liuzzi and Albers, who both have off track moments.

3.7 kms of the total 4.2 km track here have been resurfaced, mainly because the track had become so slippery. The only bit that hasn't been done is from Chateau d'Eau to just after the Lycee complex which was resurfaced when the circuit was remodelled a year or so ago.

As Davidson and Barrichello look set to improve - Super Aguri clearly having the legs of Honda this weekend - Massa goes quickest in all three sectors, raising the benchmark to 15.473.

Sutil complains of a lack of stability in the corners, which account for why he and his teammate are both over 3s off the pace.

As Massa goes quickest in sector one, Hamilton posts a 15.946 to go second. Elsewhere, Mark Webber goes fifth with a 16.562, which puts him ahead of Kubica, Coulthard, Fisichella, Trulli and Heidfeld. Moments later, Coulthard improves to fourth with a 16.403.

Nico Rosberg is pushing hard, the German taking fourth with a 16.003. However, all eyes are on Liuzzi who posts 15.925 to go second.

Webber informs his crew that the (brake) duct on the left-hand side has fallen off… "do we need it," he asks. With the clock ticking, his crew confirm that he can continue without the offending duct.

Approaching half-time, Hamilton is back on track. However, he opts to dive back into the pits with attempting to improve on his time.

Schumacher and Fisichella are on track, both keen to improve on their mid-table positions.

David Coulthard improves to third, demoting Hamilton, as the session reaches the halfway point.

With 45 minutes done and another 45 to go, it's: Massa, Liuzzi, Coulthard, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Alonso, Kubica, Wurz and Webber.

Saying that, it's all over for Webber, who pulls off track on the approach to the hairpin, his car having clearly suffered a problem. The Austrian team's dismal reliability continues.

The two Hondas are running together, Button and Barrichello keen to improve on eleventh and twentieth positions. Although it is still early in the weekend, the step forward is not as significant as some had predicted. Elsewhere, Webber's Red Bull is lifted to safety.

With thirty-five minutes remaining, Sato has completed the most laps (28), ahead of Barrichello and Trulli (27). Fastest through the speed-trap is Wurz (302 kph), ahead of Liuzzi, Massa and Webber.

Raikkonen is on track and makes short work of one of the McLarens which is running ahead of him. The Finn improves to 15.488, having gone quickest in the final sector, but remains second.

The Finn is pushing hard, too hard almost, as a mistake in the final sector of his next lap prevents him from improving.

Although they've completed seventy laps between them, the Toyota duo is keeping a surprisingly low profile in the session, both drivers over 1.4s off the pace and in the lower half of the temperatures.

Meanwhile, Scott Speed goes third, the American posting a 15.883. This puts the Toro Rosso team third and fourth.

Robert Kubica posts a personal best in the first sector as he attempts to improve on his current (tenth) position.

Raikkonen is back on track, the Ferrari appearing to be on the very limit of its adhesion to the track. The Finn is pushing hard.

Elsewhere, a strange moment for Hamilton, who pulls across on the main strait as though he's about to stop outside his team's place on the pit-wall. He slows right down and then speeds up again. Very odd.

Davidson asks his team what tyres Speed was using when he posted his best time. The silence is deafening. Elsewhere, Hamilton makes a mistake at the final chicane. Moments later Alonso also makes a mistake, which leaves his heading into the gravel. It's a big moment, the McLaren hits the kerb, launches into the air, travels across the gravel, then some grass, back across the next bit of track and into yet more gravel.

Meanwhile, Massa spins… if we didn't know better we'd say it is raining, but it isn't.

Fisichella is on track and looks set to improve on thirteenth. The Italian crosses the line at 16.205, which lifts him to tenth. On the pit-wall Jean Todt watches a replay of Massa's spin.

Schumacher and Trulli are both on hot laps. The German improves to tenth (16.184), while the Italian goes fourteenth.

Raikkonen goes off at precisely the spot where Alonso had his moment (Imola), however, the Finn goes into a spin rather than cross-country. Despite the black visor he looks embarrassed.

The session ends with Massa quickest, ahead of Raikkonen, Speed, Hamilton, Liuzzi, Coulthard, Rosberg, Alonso, Davidson and Schumacher.

To check out our Magny-Cours practice gallery, click here

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 29/06/2007
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