Honda third driver Anthony Davidson finished Friday's first free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix at the top of the time sheet with a best of 1:28.259. He was three tenths up on Red Bull counterpart Robert Doornbos in second and BMW...
Honda third driver Anthony Davidson finished Friday's first free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix at the top of the time sheet with a best of 1:28.259. He was three tenths up on Red Bull counterpart Robert Doornbos in second and BMW Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve was the fastest race driver in third.
It was a cool morning at Albert Park, with the track and air temperatures around 20 degrees at the start of the session. The usual suspects led out, third drivers Alex Wurz, Doornbos and Neel Jani the first on track for Williams, Red Bull and Toro Rosso respectively. Honda and BMW Sauber No.3s Davidson and Robert Kubica followed on.
Davidson was first to set a time, 1:42.054, while Super Aguri's Yuji Ide, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and the Toro Rosso of Scott Speed joined the track. Next out were Markus Winkelhock, back on third driver duties for MF1, and team race drivers Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro. Wurz took over from Davidson, 1:34.560.
Villeneuve was the first BMW Sauber to appear for an installation lap, followed by the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen. Kubica slotted into second, over two seconds off Wurz, and Doornbos took third. Wurz lowered his time to 1:31.987 and Doornbos and Kubica also improved but remained over a second down.
Jani was the first casualty of the weekend when his Toro Rosso went off track middle sector after only a few laps. Takuma Sato's Super Aguri was next to appear and Kubica took the top spot with a 1:31.494. He stayed out and improved to 1:30.281 over the next couple of laps, a second and a half up on Wurz.
Ralf Schumacher ventured out for an installation lap in the Toyota and Davidson moved ahead of Doornbos and Wurz for second, seven tenths off Kubica. David Coulthard was the first Red Bull race driver on track, while Davidson improved to just over a tenth behind Kubica. Doornobs then took over the top spot with a 1:29.997.
Villeneuve made it eight on the time sheet when he posted fifth and the Renaults of Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella wandered out for an installation lap apiece. Jarno Trulli's Toyota followed on and Kubica returned to the top, 1:29.576 for four tenths up on Doornbos. Villeneuve then improved to second, two tenths adrift.
Christian Klien's Red Bull also came out for an installation lap but, as usual for a Friday morning, there was not much in the way of track activity -- with 20 minutes remaining there were still only nine drivers on the time sheet. Kubica stopped in the first sector with an engine failure, which was a shame after his early efforts.
Davidson moved up to the top with a 1:29.129 then improved again to 1:28.815, and Doornbos clocked second, two tenths down. Coulthard finally set a flying lap and took fifth and Davidson lowered his time marginally to 1:28.675. Coulthard climbed one place to fourth and in the final 10 minutes there was a little more track action.
Ralf posted seventh on his first flyer then climbed to third and Albers and Monteiro took ninth and 10th respectively. Speed clocked 11th and Massa's Ferrari eighth. Sato improved to 10th but Monteiro took the place back off him, then Albers relieved Massa of eighth. Massa came back quickly to retake the spot.
Klien made 11th on his first timed effort then moved up to ninth and Michael Schumacher's Ferrari arrived in the 11th spot. Massa jumped up to third but was immediately demoted by Villeneuve and Doornbos took over at the top with a 1:28.559. Raikkonen started with a conservative 14th and Michael improved to sixth.
Raikkonen then moved up to fourth and Davidson retook the top spot at the very end of the session, 1:28.259 for three tenths up on Doornbos. The Renaults, Hondas and Williams' did not set times and neither did Trulli, McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and the Toro Rosso of Tonio Liuzzi.
An unsurprising start to the Melbourne event with the third drivers doing most of the work, although Villeneuve managed 16 laps and Ide 19 which is notable for race drivers on a Friday morning. Final top eight classification: Davidson, Doornbos, Villeneuve, Raikkonen, Massa, M. Schumacher, R. Schumacher, Wurz.