Rubens Barrichello was the pacesetter in Friday's first free practice session for the British Grand Prix, leading Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher by just seven hundredths of a second. Williams was not far behind, Juan Pablo Montoya third and...
Rubens Barrichello was the pacesetter in Friday's first free practice session for the British Grand Prix, leading Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher by just seven hundredths of a second. Williams was not far behind, Juan Pablo Montoya third and three tenths down, and Marc Gen? was a further tenth or two behind in fourth.
Track temperature was in the mid twenties as the first cars came out and conditions were dry. Schumacher was first on the time sheet, 1:21.411 for the Ferrari, then clocked 1:20.591 on his next flyer. Gen? followed into second quickest, with teammate Montoya in third -- both were around a second off the Ferrari initially.
Jordan's Nick Heidfeld made it four on the time sheet, slotting in behind Montoya, then Juan Pablo improved to second ahead of Gen?. The other two Jordans of Giorgio Pantano and third driver Timo Glock joined in, as did Minardi's Zsolt Baumgartner and third driver Bas Leinders, along with Toyota No.3 Ricardo Zonta.
Felipe Massa put his Sauber second on his first flyer, just over two tenths off Schumacher. Jaguar third driver Bj?rn Wirdheim made 11th and BAR counterpart Anthony Davidson took fifth. Gianmaria Bruni made it three Minardis on the time sheet and Massa took over the top slot with a 1:20.430, a tenth and a half up on the Ferrari.
A trio of front runners appeared next. Barrichello's Ferrari took fastest, 1:20.098, and BAR's Jenson Button slotted into fourth. Teammate Takuma Sato was ninth initially then moved up to fifth. Barrichello bettered his time to 1:19.619, dropping Massa back to eight tenths behind. Schumacher improved to third and Button also improved but stayed fourth.
Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta appeared together, their Toyotas 14th and 15th respectively, then improved in formation to ninth and tenth. The second Sauber of Giancarlo Fisichella took fourth then moved up to third, and Schumacher took the top spot, 1:19.241, putting Barrichelo four tenths down. Davidson relieved Fisichella of third fastest and it was Ferrari, BAR and Sauber making the front running halfway through.
Renault's Fernando Alonso managed ninth when he appeared and Gen? joined the front runners in fourth. Barrichello took over from Schumacher with a 1:19.138, just seven hundredths up, and Jarno Trulli slotted in one place ahead of teammate Alonso. Fernando then came to a halt in the middle sector with a car problem after only a few laps. With 20 minutes to go, the McLarens and the Jaguar race drivers were the only ones not on the time sheet.
Mark Webber made it first, 13th, and Christian Klien was next with 20th. They then improved to 11th and15th respectively on their next efforts. Montoya moved up to fifth and David Coulthard put his McLaren fourth on his first flyer. Gen? made steady progress to third after being shuffled down the times but was demoted by Montoya improving again. Kimi Raikkonen finally made it into the times in the last 10 minutes, ninth quickest.
Fisichella came to a halt on the start/finish straight, also with car gremlins, to end his good run but there was not long to go anyway. At the back Baumgarter was leading the trio of Minardis and Pantano was the best of the Jordans in 19th, just behind the two Toyotas that had been shuffled down the times. There were no changes at the top at the close of the session, Barrichello leading Schumacher.
Ferrari and Williams were looking good at the end and Sauber did well, with both cars in the top eight. Renault, McLaren and BAR seemed a little off the pace over all but it's early days yet. Wirdheim was notably the best Jaguar in 12th. Final top eight classification: Barrichello, Schumacher, Montoya, Gen?, Davidson, Coulthard, Massa, Fisichella.