Ferrari leads in Turkish GP first practice

The Ferrari drivers are confident that the circuits for the last six races of the season will suit the F2007 and in the first practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix they led the field by some margin. Kimi Raikkonen clocked 1:27.988 for the top of the times and only teammate Felipe Massa was within a second, four tenths behind the Finn.

Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari.
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McLaren will try to prevent Ferrari dominating at Istanbul but the pace of the Silver Arrows on Friday morning did not match up to the scarlet cars. Fernando Alonso, third fastest, was 1.2 seconds off Raikkonen and teammate Lewis Hamilton was fourth, just fractionally behind. It's early days yet but so far it's advantage Ferrari.

Behind the feuding leaders, Renault was generally best of the rest with Heikki Kovalainen fifth and Giancarlo Fisichella eighth. The French squad seems to be making progress after its poor early season but attention has already shifted to the 2008 car. Technical director Bob Bell said that the approach is quite different to previous years.

The Williams of Nico Rosberg was less than a tenth behind Kovalainen in sixth but teammate Alex Wurz was way down the times in 18th, well over a second off Rosberg. Toyota showed quite well early in the session but by the end they had dropped a little; Ralf Schumacher was seventh on the list and Jarno Trulli rounded off the top 10.

BMW Sauber was further off the pace than we've come to expect, Nick Heidfeld ninth and Robert Kubica 11th, both over a second and a half down on the leaders. Anthony Davidson put in a good performance for Super Aguri with 12th and teammate Takuma Sato was 17th, about two and a half tenths behind.

Red Bull's David Coulthard managed 13th, although his session came to a fiery end when his car spouted flames in the final minutes after he spun at the first corner. He made a hasty exit. The other Red Bull of Mark Webber was half a second down on the Scot in 19th. Honda was low key with Jenson Button 14th and Rubens Barrichello 15th.

Tonio Liuzzi was the lead Toro Rosso in 16th and Sebastian Vettel was 20th, leaving the Spykers to round the list off, Adrian Sutil 21st and Sakon Yamamoto 22nd. Spyker was due to debut its B spec car this weekend but it unexpectedly failed the rear impact test. Therefore the team will use the A spec chassis and the B is now scheduled for Monza.

It was an unremarkable Friday morning with only a few minor spins and off track excursions. Ferrari certainly seems to have come out fighting and usually goes well at Istanbul Park, but will its reliability hold up? Final top eight classification: Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, Hamilton, Kovalainen, Rosberg, Schumacher, Fisichella.