Ferrari sets the pace in French GP first practice

Ferrari sets the pace in French GP first practice

Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa both said they believed that the F2007 had improved at the Silverstone test session last week and they put that into practice on Friday morning at Magny Cours. Raikkonen set a best time of 1:15.382...

Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa both said they believed that the F2007 had improved at the Silverstone test session last week and they put that into practice on Friday morning at Magny Cours. Raikkonen set a best time of 1:15.382 in the first session for the French Grand Prix and Massa was less than a tenth behind. Fernando Alonso's McLaren was third quickest but over seven tenths off the Ferrari pair.

Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari, F2007.
Photo by xpb.cc.

However, it's early days so it's best not to read too much into Ferrari's pace just yet. Alonso never managed to remove the red cars from the top two spots -- and neither did anyone else once the got there -- and teammate Lewis Hamilton had a difficult start. His McLaren failed early in the session but he managed to get back out later and was sixth on the time sheet.

Nico Rosberg was a strong fourth fastest for Williams and Alex made it a double top 10 finish for the team in eighth place. Wurz was just fractionally over a second off the Ferraris. Red Bull's David Coulthard made a late improvement up the order to nab fifth but teammate Mark Webber was down in 20th and over two seconds off the pace.

Both BMW Sauber's made the top 10, Nick Heidfeld seventh and Robert Kubica, back in action after his Canada crash, was ninth. Kubica was couple of hundredths off Wurz' time and they were the last two to be within a sniff of a second of the leading pace. Toyota's Jarno Trulli, 10th, was a further couple of tenths adrift and teammate Ralf Schumacher was 17th.

Tonio Liuzzi was the lead Toro Rosso in 11th, one and half seconds off the Ferraris, and Scott Speed was 15th but only two tenths behind Liuzzi. Once again the midfield was close: Super Aguri's Takuma Sato was less than a tenth off Liuzzi in 12th and teammate Anthony Davidson's 16th place was two tenths astray. 13th and 14th were taken by the Hondas, Rubens Barrichello ahead of Jenson Button.

It was a slow start for Renault; Giancarlo Fisichella was 18th and Heikki Kovalainen 19th -- which doesn't say a lot for Fisi's claim that Renault is faster than BMW -- just over a tenth between them and nearly two seconds down on the Ferraris. The Spykers made up the bottom places, Christijan Albers 21st and Adrian Sutil 22nd, the latter just over three seconds off the pace.

It was a fairly normal Friday morning, although Hamilton's car problem -- a possible electronic gremlin -- was unusual for McLaren this season. Ferrari looks to have the early advantage but we'll have to wait and see how it pans out for the rest of the weekend. Final top eight classification: Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, Rosberg, Coulthard, Hamilton, Heidfeld, Wurz.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Anthony Davidson , Christijan Albers , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Adrian Sutil
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams