F1

Raikkonen top in Brazilian GP first practice

Raikkonen top in Brazilian GP first practice

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in the first Friday practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix, a last minute flyer giving him a time of 1:13.764 around the Interlagos circuit. Honda third driver Anthondy Davidson was second quickest,...

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in the first Friday practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix, a last minute flyer giving him a time of 1:13.764 around the Interlagos circuit. Honda third driver Anthondy Davidson was second quickest, just under a tenth and a half down, and Williams No.3 Alex Wurz was third.

Kimi Raikkonen.
Photo by xpb.cc.

It was a fairly cool start to the weekend, with the air temperature around 20 degrees and the track seven degrees higher as the Spyker MF1 of third driver Ernesto Viso led out. Fellow No.3s Michael Ammermuller (Red Bull), Sebastian Vettel (BMW Sauber), Davidson, Neel Jani (Toro Rosso), Franck Montagny (Super Aguri) and Wurz followed suit.

Super Aguri's Sakon Yamamoto was the first race driver to appear, while Davidson set the first time, 1:25.911. Wurz quickly took over with a 1:20.367 and Pedro de ala Rosa's McLaren went out for an installation lap. Davidson and Wurz continued to circulate, the former closing the gap then the latter widening it again, his next a 1:17.689 and Davidson over a second off.

They continued to trade times, Davidson posting 1:17.500 then Wurz 1:16.919. BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica and Super Aguri's Takuma Sato were next to appear and after 10 minutes Viso made it three on the time sheet, over five seconds off the leading pair. Wurz lowered his time to 1:16.233 and Davidson went better with a 1:15.883.

Raikkonen made his way out on track for his last race weekend with McLaren and Ammermuller slotted into fourth. Montagny took third on his first flyer, and Vettel sixth, then Viso went back to third. Montagny immediately took it off him again and Jani managed seventh on his first timed effort. Vettel grabbed the third spot but there was not a great deal of activity.

Jani improved to fourth and Vettel to second, two tenths off Davidson. Jarno Trulli was the first Toyota driver to make an appearance, followed by the Toro Rosso of Scott Speed, while Ammermuller gained a place to fifth and Davidson improved to 1:14.889 to leave Vettel over a second adrift. Ralf Schumacher's Toyota had a brief trip around, as did Tonio Liuzzi's Toro Rosso.

Vettel closed the gap to Davidson to just over a tenth and Viso climbed to fourth, while Sato finally reached the list in seventh. Jani made an improvement to fourth and Yamamoto arrived in ninth then Christijan Albers and Taigo Monteiro's Spyker MF1s ventured out. Meanwhile, at the front, Davidson was down fractionally to 1:14.813 and Vettel two tenths off.

Davidson then clocked fastest sectors all round to post 1:13.902, once again leaving Vettel over a second down. Heading into the last 20 minutes Speed managed 10th on his first effort. Wurz removed Vettel from second, two and a half tenths off Davidson, and Speed was still lapping and improving his times but hadn't moved up.

Jani also improved his time but stayed static in fourth then Speed finally climbed the list to seventh. The track temperature had raised about 10 degrees by the last 10 minutes but clouds were gathering over the circuit. Late arrivals on track were the Honda of Rubens Barrichello and the Red Bulls of David Coulthard and Robert Doornbos.

The Renaults of Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso also appeared, while Viso had an off track moment in sector one. Barrichello clocked 10th and Trulli sixth then Barrichello took the place off him. Ralf and Liuzzi lapped in formation and took 13th and 14th respectively while Davidson lowered his top time to 1:13.902.

Wurz was on his heels, two hundredths off, and the second Honda of Jenson Button posted sixth. De la Rosa eventually set a time, fourth, and Button kept going to move up to nab the slot only to have de la Rosa take it back. Ralf improved to 10th and Raikkonen did a couple of laps to take a lowly 17th. In the final minute the Finn jumped up to the top, 1:13.764.

Trulli and Viso (again) both had minor spins but it was a largely uneventful session. There were no timed laps by the Renaults or Ferraris so the McLarens were the leading race drivers, with Honda and Toyota scrabbling behind. Final top eight classification: Raikkonen, Davidson, Wurz, Vettel, de la Rosa, Button, Trulli, Jani.

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