McLaren third driver Alex Wurz led the way in the first Friday practice session for the European Grand Prix with a best time of 1:31.670. He was nearly a second quicker than Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and Toyota third driver Ricardo Zonta was ...
McLaren third driver Alex Wurz led the way in the first Friday practice session for the European Grand Prix with a best time of 1:31.670. He was nearly a second quicker than Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and Toyota third driver Ricardo Zonta was third fastest, just over a tenth behind Michael.
The conditions were clear and dry, with a track temperature around forty degrees as the cars came out for installation laps. As usual the third drivers were quickly in action; Wurz, Zonta, Red Bull's Christian Klien, and Franck Montagny, Renault's tester, who is in the third Jordan today instead of Robert Doornbos.
Zonta was first to set a flyer, 1:35.368, followed by Wurz into second, a tenth down, Klien into third and Montgany fourth. Wurz took over at the top, 1:34.592, nearly eight tenths up on Zonta, and Montgany improved his time but stayed fourth. Jordan race driver Tiago Monterio made it five on the time sheet in the first 20 minutes.
Minardi's Patrick Friesacher was next to join, fifth ahead of Monteiro, and his teammate Christijan Albers made seventh on his first effort. Friesacher moved up one to fourth but was immediately demoted by Montagny, who dropped his time to three and a half seconds off Wurz. Monteiro took the position off him, about eight tenths quicker.
By half way through the session it was still only those seven drivers on the time sheet; Zonta was three tenths off Wurz but from Klien in third the rest were two seconds and more off the pace. Klien then put in an effort to take the second spot and closed the gap to Wurz to just eight hundredths, and Narain Karthikeyan's Jordan joined in eighth.
Rubens Barrichello put his Ferrari straight to the top of the times when he got going, 1:34.081 for half a second up on Wurz. He continued and bought it down to 1:33.272, leaving the McLaren over a second adrift. Michael was on the pace and slotted into second, five hundredths off Barrichello, then went faster, 1:32.796.
Wurz improved his time but stayed third and Tonio Liuzzi put his Red Bull seventh on his first flyer. Jarno Trulli was the first of the Toyota race drivers on track and clocked fourth, quickly followed by teammate Ralf Schumacher who went seventh. Not to be outdone, Toyota No.3 Zonta whipped round to post second, just six hundredths off Michael.
Jacques Villeneuve was the first of the Saubers to set a time, 11th, and then climbed to ninth. Wurz went to the top with a 1:31.732, over a second up on Michael and Villeneuve climbed again to eighth. David Coulthard's Red Bull took 12th but Villeneuve was shunted back down the times by Nick Heidfeld's Williams and Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren moving into the top six.
Felipe Massa's Sauber took 10th on his first effort, while Michael and Barrichello improved their times but stayed second and fourth respectively. Juan Pablo Montoya put his McLaren seventh and Mark Webber's Williams clocked eighth. Wurz put in a last minute flyer to clock 1:31.670, the gap to Michael to nine tenths.
At the end of the session Montoya improved to fourth, while the Renaults and BARs did not set times. Wurz was out on his own but from Michael in second to Raikkonen in sixth there was only about half a second between them. Final top eight classification: Wurz, M. Schumacher, Zonta, Montoya, Barrichello, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Webber.