De la Rosa top in British GP first practice

De la Rosa top in British GP first practice

After Friday's first free practice session for the British Grand Prix there was a familiar face at the top of the times. McLaren third driver Pedro de la Rosa set a best of 1:19.205, over nine tenths quicker than Toyota counterpart Ricardo Zonta...

After Friday's first free practice session for the British Grand Prix there was a familiar face at the top of the times. McLaren third driver Pedro de la Rosa set a best of 1:19.205, over nine tenths quicker than Toyota counterpart Ricardo Zonta in second. Jenson Button gave the home crowds something to wave their flags about, the BAR man third fastest.

Pedro de la Rosa.
Photo by xpb.cc.

The track temperature was in the mid-twenties at the start of the session and the conditions were dry and fairly sunny. As usual the third drivers were first out on track; Red Bull's Tonio Liuzzi, Zonta, de la Rosa and Jordan's Robert Doornbos. They were joined by the Minardis of Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher.

After the initial pottering about with installation laps, Zonta was the first to put up a time, 1:32.087, and then he dropped it to 1:25.129. De la Rosa quickly took over with a 1:23.916 and the pair traded the top spot for a while. Zonta returned with 1:22.688 and de la Rosa clocked 1:22.124. Liuzzi joined in third, a couple of seconds off the pace.

Zonta posted 1:21.960 and de la Rosa promptly lowered it to 1:21.377, while Doornbos made it four on the time sheet. Narain Karthikeyan took the fourth spot off his Jordan teammate and Liuzzi improved his time to under two seconds to de la Rosa. Tiago Monteiro made it three Jordans in a row with sixth.

Friesacher spoiled the yellow party by taking sixth and Doornbos improved his time but stayed fifth. Albers joined one behind teammate Friesacher but there was little action in the first half hour. De la Rosa and Zonta continued to trade times at the top, the former clocking 1:20.915 and the latter taking over with a 1:20.703.

Friesacher spun then stalled, which briefly brought out the yellow flags. Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren appeared in third and quickly improved to the top, 1:20.411 for three tenths up on Zonta. Monteiro also spun but managed to keep going and the Williams of Mark Webber joined in 10th. Zonta closed the gap to Raikkonen to two tenths.

Webber climbed to fifth and De la Rosa demoted teammate Raikkonen from the top with a 1:19.663, over seven tenths up. Zonta dropped the Finn another spot when he took second, the gap to de la Rosa four tenths. Michael Schumacher's Ferrari joined in fourth 2.5 seconds down.

The second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello clocked sixth and Nick Heidfeld's Williams appeared in 11th. Takuma Sato's first effort put his BAR fifth, but Barrichello took the spot off him, and Sauber's Felipe Massa clocked eight on his first flyer. Button put his BAR fourth and Sato moved back up to fifth.

Michael demoted Sato again by taking the fifth slot and Massa moved up to seventh. Karthikeyan moved to the front of the Minardi/Jordan group with 12th, just behind the Williams pair -- Webber had quickly been demoted to the edge of the top ten. Christian Klien's Red Bull took 11th off Heidfeld and then improved to ninth.

The second Sauber of Jacques Villeneuve posted 14th and Toyota's Ralf Schumacher joined in seventh. At the top of the times de la Rosa was on another flyer and clocked fastest sectors across the board for 1:19.205, nearly as second up on Zonta. Ralf moved up to fifth and Michael slotted in one behind for sixth after being moved down the times.

David Coulthard put his Red Bull ninth and the McLaren of Juan Pablo Montoya had a lazy start with 21st. Button improved to third and Villeneuve to 13th, while Montoya jumped up to sixth. Sato climbed to seventh after being shuffled down the order but Michael, doing likewise, immediately took the place off him.

De la Rosa has become something of a fixture at the top of the time sheets on a Friday and that's where he stayed this morning. McLaren, as expected, looks strong at Silverstone but there's not been a great deal of laps put in yet to make any judgements. The Renaults and Toyota's Jarno Trulli did not set a time in this session.

BAR also looks quite on the pace, as does Toyota, and Ferrari is perhaps just a little behind, but a clearer picture should appear after this afternoon's session. Final top eight classification: De la Rosa, Zonta, Button, Raikkonen, R. Schumacher, Montoya, M. Schumacher, Sato.

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