Honda third driver Anthony Davidson led the way in the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix with a best time of 1:45.349 around a rainy Suzuka circuit. He was eight tenths quicker than Toro Rosso counterpart Neel Jani and BMW Sauber...
Honda third driver Anthony Davidson led the way in the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix with a best time of 1:45.349 around a rainy Suzuka circuit. He was eight tenths quicker than Toro Rosso counterpart Neel Jani and BMW Sauber No.3 Sebastian Vettel was third on a very quiet morning.
It was a cool start to the weekend, with track and air temperatures around 20 degrees and the track was officially declared wet. Super Aguri's Sakon Yamamoto was first out, along with team No.3 Franck Montagny. Third drivers Davidson, Adrian Sutil (Spyker MF1), Jani, Vettel, Alex Wurz (Williams) and Michael Ammermuller (Red Bull) also appeared.
The Williams pair of Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg were out early for installation laps, while Davidson set the initial flyer of 1:49.261. Scott Speed's Toro Rosso and Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren made brief visits to the circuit, followed by the Super Aguri of Takuma Sato. Davidson lowered his time a little to 1:49.119, while Wurz took second and Sutil third, then Wurz went to the top with a 1:48.739.
Montagny posted fourth then lost it to Vettel and Tonio Liuzzi's Toro Rosso joined the track, then the Red Bull of Robert Doornbos and BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica. Ammermuller took fifth on his first effort and more drivers were venturing out, Red Bull's David Coulthard and Renault's Fernando Alonso followed by Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber and the second Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella.
Jani clocked sixth then improved to third and after 20 minutes there were still only seven drivers on the time sheet. Spyker MF1's Tiago Monteiro and Christijan Albers and the McLaren of Pedro de la Rosa made quick appearances and Montagny jumped up to the top spot, 1:47.918 for eight tenths up on Wurz. Around the half hour mark Rubens Barrichello's Honda went out, as did Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher.
Wurz closed the gap to Montagny to less than three hundredths, with Davidson in hot pursuit in the first sector and Ammermuller quicker still. The latter went fastest, 1:47.718, while Wurz and Davidson stayed third and fourth, followed by Sato. Jenson Button's Honda went out for an installation lap which left only the Ferraris unseen. Ammermuller improved to 1:47.162 but was demoted by Davidson's 1:46.042.
Davidson stayed out and clocked 1:45.349 over his next couple of laps and Yamamoto made it nine on the time sheet with ninth. Montagny bought out the yellow flags in the middle sector when his Super Aguri spun into the gravel. Jani moved up to second, eight tenths off Davidson, and Speed finally made the time sheet in ninth then improved to fifth, while Albers posted 10th.
In the last five minutes Vettel moved up to third and Albers to sixth and that was the end of the session. Only 11 drivers set a time and the top five were third drivers so there's really nothing to be deduced from this morning's efforts. Final top eight classification: Davidson, Jani, Vettel, Ammermuller, Sutil, Speed, Albers, Montagny.