Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen took over the top of the time sheet in Friday's second practice for the European Grand Prix and set a best time of 1:33.339. Teammate Felipe Massa was third fastest; the session started in damp conditions after a rain...
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen took over the top of the time sheet in Friday's second practice for the European Grand Prix and set a best time of 1:33.339. Teammate Felipe Massa was third fastest; the session started in damp conditions after a rain storm between practices but the track dried out fairly quickly, although there were a few spins and wheels on the grass and in the gravel.
"I am reasonably happy with today," said Raikkonen. "We have proved we are competitive in pure terms on this circuit and we will have to wait for tomorrow to understand exactly where we are compared to our main rivals. I think there is still room for improvement in terms of the handling of the car which is nevertheless good on both types of tyre we have here."
Massa was also fairly satisfied. "Clearly, we expect a very tight fight with our closest rivals, but we are up for it," he commented. "We improved the set up of the car from the first session to the second but we still have some work to do, especially in terms of performance over the first timed lap. It's a shame that on my last run on new softer tyres I had a bit of traffic in the first part of my first lap which cost me time."
Lewis Hamilton's McLaren was in between the Ferraris, just under a tenth and a half down on Raikkonen but his 1:32.515 from the morning session remained the fastest time of the day. Fernando Alonso was fourth on the time sheet and those top four were separated by three tenths of a second after trading the fastest time all afternoon.
"I found a good balance early on and am generally happy with the car," said Hamilton. "We have introduced some aerodynamic changes this weekend which so far seem to be working well and I know the team has worked really hard since Silverstone. As I haven't run recently on a drying track I went out to gain some more experience, just in case we need it this weekend."
Ralf Schumacher improved late in the session to fifth and Toyota teammate Jarno Trulli was a place and a tenth behind in sixth. Nico Rosberg put his Williams seventh, fractionally over half a second off Raikkonen, and Alex Wurz was 12th, the last be inside a second of the lead pace.
Honda's Jenson Button made the top 10 again, eighth, and Rubens Barrichello was several places down in 14th. Both BMW Sauber's just scraped into the top 10, Nick Heidfeld ninth and Robert Kubica 10th, eight tenths off the leaders. Red Bull's Mark Webber was only marginally behind in 11th and David Coulthard was 17th.
But it was very close in the midfield; Super Aguri's Takuma Sato was 13th and teammate Anthony Davidson in 18th was only two tenths adrift despite five cars in between them. The Toro Rossos of Scott Speed and Tonio Liuzzi were 19th and 20th and the Spyker rounded off the times, Adrian Sutil 21st and Markus Winkelhock 22nd.
Winkelhock was the only retiree of the afternoon when he spun into the gravel and came to a halt, causing a brief yellow flag period. As usual it was mostly a scrap between Ferrari and McLaren at the top but this time it was the Toyotas that were best of the rest. Final top eight classification: Raikkonen, Hamilton, Massa, Alonso, Schumacher, Trulli, Rosberg, Button.