Michael Schumacher set the best time on Friday during the second free practice session for the German Grand Prix, posting a fastest of 1:15.001. The Ferrari was seven tenths quicker than Anthony Davidson's BAR in the morning session. McLaren's...
Michael Schumacher set the best time on Friday during the second free practice session for the German Grand Prix, posting a fastest of 1:15.001. The Ferrari was seven tenths quicker than Anthony Davidson's BAR in the morning session. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen kept Schumacher on his toes, just four hundredths behind the Ferrari in the afternoon, and Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya was third quickest.
Similar conditions to the morning greeted the second session, although the temperature had climbed, the track being in the high forties. The Toyota race drivers were quickly out on track, Olivier Panis' 1:18.124 leading Cristiano da Matta until Jaguar third driver Bj?rn Wirdheim clocked 1:17.872 for the top spot. Jordan's Giorgio Pantano was the fourth to make the time sheet.
Toyota third driver Ricardo Zonta was next to the top, 1:17.421, and Renault's Fernando Alonso, Jaguar's Christian Klien and Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella joined the action. Michael Schumacher went fastest, 1:17.297 for the Ferrari, with Mark Webber's Jaguar slotting into second. Williams' Anontio Pizzonia was the last under a second from fastest, in eighth, after five minutes had gone.
There was a lot of action early on. BAR third driver Anthony Davidson took over the top with a 1:16.307 and teammate Jenson Button was third quickest. The second Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth but he was demoted by Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari and da Matta in quick succession.
David Coulthard clocked fifth fastest for McLaren on his first flyer and teammate Kimi Raikkonen made third. Sauber's Felipe Massa took tenth, with Zonta and Webber just ahead. Klien was hampered by gremlins on new car parts in the previous session and still seemed in difficulties down in 20th. The Renaults were also sluggish, Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli 17th and 18th early on.
Pantano improved to 13th but after the initial flurry of activity it went quieter for a while. Trulli moved up to 16th, one behind BAR's Takuma Sato, and Wirdheim put in a good effort for seventh. Jordan third driver Timo Glock took 19th and Alonso improved slightly to 15th. Schumacher took over the top spot, 1:16.362, and Barrichello followed in second until demoted by Sato.
Pizzonia was next to take the popular second position, a tenth down on the Ferrari, and Massa returned to the top ten after being moved down the order. Button improved to fifth and Klien and Trulli to 13th and 14th respectively. Suddenly bored of the backmarkers, Alonso booted his Renault up to fourth fastest, a vast improvement for three tenths off Schumacher. Zonta edged back up the times to eighth but was quickly deposed by Coulthard.
After their earlier efforts the Toyota race drivers were in amongst the Jordans and Minardi was holding station at the back. Raikkonen belted the McLaren to the top, 1:15.045 and Schumacher improved his time but couldn't beat the Finn. He then had another go and made it stick, 1:15.001 -- four hundredths up. Davidson improved to fifth and Button to third, then followed another quiet period.
In the last ten minutes a few drivers worked their way back up the times after being shuffled down the order. Montoya improved to third quickest, Klien climbed to 14th and Coulthard to 10th. Wirdheim was the best of the three Jaguars, 12th, but Button, like Davidson in the first session, came to a halt right at the end of the practice. Unfortunatley it was an engine problem and will need a change, so Button will lose 10 places on the grid in qualifying. There was no change at the top, Schumacher leading Raikkonen by 0.044.
Schumacher appeared his usual speedy self but Barrichello was notably down the list of times in both of Friday's sessions -- seventh in the morning and ninth in the afternoon. Not a particularly poor result for anyone else but not great for a Ferrari. Raikkonen looked the stronger of the McLarens all day and Montoya and Pizzonia were fairly evenly matched in the top ten.
BAR had all three cars in the top eight at the end of the second session, which bodes well for the Brackley squad, and Alonso managed to keep Renault's head up by finishing eighth. Trulli was down in 14th and both drivers didn't appear particularly comfortable with their cars all day. Jaguar lurked outside the top ten along with the Saubers which was a bit disappointing in both cases.
Zonta ended the day best for Toyota, 10th, while da Matta and Panis were 18th and 19th. It doesn't look great but there's no doubt a lot of tinkering to be done with the new TF104B. Glock led the Jordan trio in 20th and Baumgartner was the better of the three Minardis. Final top eight classification: Schumacher, Raikkonen, Montoya, Button Pizzonia, Davidson, Sato, Alonso.