The US Grand Prix weekend got under way on Friday morning with the first practice session and McLaren's Fernando Alonso was the quickest man in the initial track outing at Indianapolis. The reigning champion clocked a best of 1:11.925, while ...
The US Grand Prix weekend got under way on Friday morning with the first practice session and McLaren's Fernando Alonso was the quickest man in the initial track outing at Indianapolis. The reigning champion clocked a best of 1:11.925, while teammate Lewis Hamilton was third quickest, seven tenths behind Alonso, and the pair spent much of the session trading fastest laps.
Splitting the two McLarens was the BMW Sauber of Nick Heidfeld in second, four and a half tenths down. BMW ousted Ferrari from the top four as tester Sebastian Vettel, who is drafted in this weekend to deputize for Robert Kubica after his Canadian crash, was fourth on the time sheet. Vettel was the last of the drivers to be within a second of the lead McLaren.
Just fractionally over that one second barrier was Kimi Raikkonen in fifth and Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa was seventh. In between the scarlet cars was the Williams of Nico Rosberg, sixth, and the Grove outfit made use of tester Kazuki Nakajima in the second car, 12th. Despite a reasonable finishing slot, Nakajima was nearly two seconds off Alonso's pace.
Both Red Bulls made it into the top 10, David Coulthard eighth and Mark Webber 10th. The Honda of Jenson Button was in the middle in ninth but the second Honda of Rubens Barrichello was down in 18th. The Toyotas of Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher were either side of Nakajima, 11th and 13th respectively.
Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed were nose to tail, the Toro Rossos 14th and 15th ahead of the Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella in 16th. It was not a terribly enthusiastic start for Renault as Heikki Kovalainen was 19th. Takuma Sato was the lead Super Aguri in 17th and teammate Anthony Davidson was 20th. The Spykers rounded off the line up, Christijan Albrs 21st and Adrian Sutil 22nd.
There were a few off-track moments but nothing drastic; Sutil bought out the yellow flag right at the end when he spun in the last sector and got the car stuck in the gravel. Not a great start seeing as Spyker chiefs had words with their drivers after mistakes in Montreal put them both out of the race. Both cars were over two and a half seconds off the lead pace.
McLaren was strong again in this opening salvo and so far, at least, Alonso looks confident on a track that is not one of his favourites. However, as usual on a Friday morning, there was not much action to draw any conclusions from. Final top eight classification: Alonso, Heidfeld, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Massa, Coulthard.