Button top after final German GP practices

Button top after final German GP practices

Jenson Button put in a last minute flyer in the second Saturday practice session for the German Grand Prix and the BAR took the best time with a 1:13.676. It was an active morning, with several drivers trading the fastest time; Williams' Juan...

Jenson Button put in a last minute flyer in the second Saturday practice session for the German Grand Prix and the BAR took the best time with a 1:13.676. It was an active morning, with several drivers trading the fastest time; Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya finished second and McLaren's David Coulthard was third. The top eight were within eight tenths of a second.

Jenson Button.
Photo by LAT Photographic.

Conditions were cool and dry as Minardi's Zsolt Baumgartner started proceedings with a 1:21.890. Teammate Gianmaria Bruni bettered that, posting 1:20.462 then the Jordans took over, Nick Heidfeld clocking 1:18.707 and Giorgio Pantano following on in second. Pantano's session was short lived as he lost his front wing on the kerb and went into the barrier at turn one immediately afterwards.

The session was red-flagged briefly to clear the car and Pantano was unharmed. Antonio Pizzonia put his Williams to the top at the restart, 1:16.588, followed by Michael Schumacher's 1:16.007.the Ferrari was half a second clear and both were over two seconds up on the others. Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari posted fourth on his first effort.

The session was stopped again when Baumgartner hit the kerb bollards at turn one and also lost his front wing -- seems to be a habit this weekend, Jordan's Timo Glock suffered the same thing on Friday. The debris was cleared and action restarted within five minutes.

The Sauber duo of Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella took third and fourth then Button clocked the fastest, 1:15.839. Fernando Alonso posted sixth in the Renault on his first flyer and teammate Jarno Trulli managed 10th. Takuma Sato was the next retiree, the BAR hitting the barrier at turn eight before he set a time.

Alonso improved to fourth and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen took over the top spot, 1:15.626. Trulli moved up to fifth then Barrichello demoted Raikkonen with a 1:15.598, just three hundredths quicker. Christian Klien put his Jaguar ninth and teammate Mark Webber was 12th. Montoya was next to the top, 1:15.277 for the Williams, three tenths up on Barrichello.

Coulthard clocked eighth quickest and Schumacher improved to second. He was immediately demoted by Barrichello, who closed the gap to Montoya to seven hundredths. Schumacher took another flyer and clocked 1:15.066 for the top and there the session finished. Top three at the end of the first 45 minutes were Schumacher, Montoya, Barrichello.

Webber started proceedings in the second session with a 1:17.912 and Klien followed into second. Alsono and Raikkonen were next, the Spaniard clocking 1:15.224 and Raikkonen just eight hundredths down. Coulthard took third and Heidfeld fourth but the Jordan was ousted by Fisichella. Cristiano da Matta put his Toyota fifth and Trulli took the fourth slot.

Montoya nabbed the popular fourth position on his initial run and da Matta improved to third. Schumacher took the place off him and Pizzonia followed into fourth. Massa made seventh then Schumacher took the top spot, 1:15.003 for two tenths up on Alonso. Barrichello went second, just four hundredths down on his teammate.

Olivier Panis hurled his Toyota round the track for the fastest time of the weekend so far, 1:14.953, five hundredths up on Schumacher. Button clocked fourth on his first flyer, Trulli improved to eighth and da Matta to sixth. Montoya returned to the top ten after being shuffled down the order.

Alonso shot back to the top with a 1:14.490, nearly half a second up on Panis but was immediately demoted by Raikkonen's 1:14.100, the times dropping rapidly. Coulthard took second, a tenth down, and Klien and Massa improved to 11th and 14th respectively. Montoya set the fastest middle sector of the morning on his way to the top, 1:13.976 and the first into the 1:13 bracket.

Button improved to fourth and Alonso to fifth after slipping down the order, Schumacher and Trulli taking sixth and seventh. Pizzonia, Panis and Barrichello completed the top ten with a few minutes to go. Barrichello improved to sixth and Coulthard moved up to second, eight hundredths off Montoya. Webber climbed to 12th then Button took over at the top, 1:13.676 and three tenths up.

Qualifying looks set to be interesting -- there's maybe half a dozen cars that look good and none to chose between them really. McLaren is on the pace and could be favourite for pole but Schumacher certainly can't be counted out. Renault was better than yesterday but perhaps not as good as it could be.

Montoya was also flying, as was Button, but Jenson will suffer the ten place demotion for his engine change yesterday. Sato and Pantano never made it out in the second session. Final top eight classification: Button, Montoya, Coulthard, Raikkonen, Alonso, Barrichello, Schumacher, Trulli.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan