McLaren ahead in Japanese GP Friday practices

After the first day of free practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren finished at the top of the times with Kimi Raikkonen nearly half a second ahead of David Coulthard. The Finn set a fastest of 1:34.232 in the second session, bettering...

After the first day of free practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren finished at the top of the times with Kimi Raikkonen nearly half a second ahead of David Coulthard. The Finn set a fastest of 1:34.232 in the second session, bettering Michael Schumacher's quickest of the first practice by close to two seconds.

The drama of the first session was Jacques Villeneuve pulverizing his BAR after spinning and hitting the wall at Spoon Corner. The Canadian appeared to be all right but the car was very heavily damaged. The session was red-flagged for a time and Villeneuve had limited running in the second practice after mechanics struggled to repair the car. Team mate Olivier Panis finished seventeenth, the Frenchman stalling in the first session with technical problems.

Juan Pablo Montoya also wrecked his car, losing the rear wing of the Williams after hitting a wall in the second practice. The Williams' seemed a little off the pace in the first session, behind the McLaren's, but picking up in the second. Montoya and Ralf Schumacher finished fourth and fifth fastest.

Ferrari had a mixed but untroubled time: Michael topped the times in the first practice -- he had to take abrupt avoidance measures to miss Villeneuve's crash -- followed by Rubens Barrichello, who had a slight off-track moment but no problems. In the second session Michael didn't better his time as his car apparently had a hydraulic problem and Barrichello put in only a few runs, dropping to third.

The Jaguar duo of Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa continued good form, the best of the rest in seventh and eighth. A fairly quiet time for both with Irvine just under two seconds off Raikkonen's fastest time. Renault were ninth and twelfth with Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button respectively. The pair made some of the early running in the first session but couldn't make the top six.

Giancarlo Fisichella rounded of the top ten for Jordan, working hard in the second session, and team mate Takuma Sato was thirteenth quickest in front of his home crowd. Mika Salo was the best-placed Toyota in eleventh, Allan McNish fourteenth. The Saubers were off the pace despite being top of the times early in the first session.

Nick Heidfeld ground to a halt in the pit lane but his mechanics managed to get him going again. Felipe Massa had a couple of wobbly on track moments but despite improvements from both in the second session they finished Massa fifteenth and Heidfeld sixteenth.

After Villeneuve's earlier antics, Mark Webber managed to finish quicker than the Canadian, putting his Minardi into eighteenth. Team mate Alex Yoong had a hot time, exiting his car rapidly when it erupted into flames in the pit lane with a gearbox fire. Yoong was at the bottom of the times but inside the 107% of the front runners. Final top six classification after second practice: Raikkonen, Coulthard, Barrichello, Montoya, R. Schumacher, M. Schumacher.

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