Saturday morning at Interlagos belonged to Ferrari, with Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher leading in the final practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Massa's best time of 1:11.443 was just under two tenths up on his teammate and Jenson...
Saturday morning at Interlagos belonged to Ferrari, with Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher leading in the final practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Massa's best time of 1:11.443 was just under two tenths up on his teammate and Jenson Button put in a good effort for Honda with third. He was the only other driver within a second of Massa, although over eight tenths off.
The conditions were a little unsettled, the air temperature around 20 degrees and the track in the low thirties, but it was brighter than Friday. Spyker MF1's Tiago Monterio and Christijan Albers were out first along with Red Bull's Robert Doornbos, who will suffer the 10 place grid demotion penalty in qualifying due to an engine change. The three did installation laps then headed back to the pits.
Super Aguri's Takuma Sato was next to venture out and he made the time sheet with a 1:16.895. The Toyotas of Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli took to the track, followed by the Red Bull of David Coulthard, while Sato lowered his time to 1:16.443. Ralf then took over the top spot, 1:15.949, and was immediately ousted by Trulli's 1:14.822. Coulthard took third and Doornbos, who had reappeared, fourth.
Ralf improved his time but so did Trulli, 1:14.388 for the Italian with Ralf six tenths off. The second Super Aguri of Sakon Yamamoto joined the track and Doornbos moved ahead of Coulthard. Ralf was still lapping and closed the gap to Trulli to three tenths, while Yamamoto posted sixth on his first timed effort. The Toro Rossos of Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed were next out, and the BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica.
Liuzzi initially managed seventh and Kubica fourth then Liuzzi climbed one to sixth. Speed immediately took the spot off him, while Kubica improved to the top, 1:14.200 for nearly two tenths up on Trulli. The McLarens of Pedro de la Rosa and Kimi Raikkonen went out in formation and Liuzzi moved up to fifth. Kubica went round again and clocked 1:14.005 then Michael's Ferrari appeared.
The Honda of Rubens Barrichello followed, while Speed improved ahead of Liuzzi. Monteiro and Albers were back on track and posted seventh and eighth respectively and Raikkonen went straight to the top by a very narrow margin, 1:14.003. He was quickly replaced by Michael's 1:13.706 and further down the list de la Rosa took ninth and Barrichello 11th. Michael stayed out to clock 1:13.096.
Button's Honda arrived in sixth and Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber in 14th. Massa's Ferrari started with seventh and Button climbed to fourth, while Giancarlo Fisichella was the first Renault out, 15th. De la Rosa went up to seventh and Massa did likewise to fourth then Fisichella improved to ninth.
Nico Rosberg was the first Williams on the time sheet, 17th, and teammate Mark Webber followed shortly afterwards into 16th. Heidfeld was up to 10th and Fernando Alonso was the last man to set a time, the Renault slotting into sixth, two in front of the steadily improving Fisichella. Massa was on a flyer and clocked 1:13.068, just three hundredths up on Michael.
Alonso went up to third, eight tenths off the Ferraris, and Webber to seventh but Massa was still out there and lowered his time to 1:12.948, a tenth and a half quicker than his teammate. Rosberg struggled up to 14th then made a jump to seventh and the activity died down a little around half way through the session. Liuzzi moved up to take 15th off teammate Speed but Speed promptly grabbed the place back.
Ralf had been shifted outside the top 10 and he made his way back in to seventh and Kubica improved his time but stayed fifth. Michael started off on a hot lap and set the fastest middle sector but then backed out in the last. He stayed out for another go and removed Massa from the top with a 1:12.874, the gap still less than a tenth. Raikkonen took third ahead of Alonso by an equally narrow margin.
Webber jumped up to the third spot and Barrichello to sixth while Michael shaved more off his time, 1:12.548, leaving Massa four tenths off. Not content with that the German then clocked 1:11.925 and de la Rosa elbowed Massa out of second, eight tenths between the McLaren and the lead Ferrari. Meanwhile, Heidfeld had worked his way up to seventh and Coulthard to ninth.
Button was back to sixth after being shuffled down the order and Massa regained the second spot, six tenths off Michael. Barrichello followed his compatriot into third which gave the Brazilian crowds something to get even more excited about. It was short lived as Kubica took the place, his time exactly the same as Massa's. Sato made a notable jump to ninth while Rosberg had a spin but was unscathed.
Fisichella climbed to fourth after being moved down and Liuzzi went up to 10th, while Sato was just as quickly going back down the list as Doornbos, Ralf and Rosberg improved. Heidfeld, de la Rosa and Raikkonen were also late to climb a couple of places and Button shot up to second, just under four tenths down on Michael. Speed moved into 13th from near the back.
Right at the end Massa and Michael improved in tandem, Massa gaining the upper hand with a 1:11.443 and Michael two tenths behind. It's no surprise to see Ferrari looking very strong while Honda, Renault, McLaren and BMW drivers made up the rest of the top 10. The Williams pair were just outside then came the Toro Rossos, so not a bad morning for the little Italian outfit.
The Red Bulls, Toyotas, Super Aguris and Spykers were mixed together towards the back, so not such a great result for Toyota despite its early pace. Naturally the focus will be further up in qualifying and an all red front is a likely prospect but Renault doesn't look to have really shown its hand yet. Final top eight classification: Massa, M. Schumacher, Button, Kubica, Fisichella, Barrichello, Alonso, Raikkonen.