Honda third driver Anthony Davidson recovered from a trip into the gravel in the second Friday practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix to set the fastest time right at the end. Davidson clocked 1:35.041 ahead of Williams No.3 Alex Wurz and...
Honda third driver Anthony Davidson recovered from a trip into the gravel in the second Friday practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix to set the fastest time right at the end. Davidson clocked 1:35.041 ahead of Williams No.3 Alex Wurz and Renault's Fernando Alonso was the best-finishing race driver in third.
Once again it was Wurz out on track first followed by BMW Sauber third driver Robert Kubica, who put up the first time of 1:38.525. Toro Rosso's Tonio Liuzzi took second and Davidson and Wurz quickly ousted both the previous pair, Davidson's time a 1:38.012. The Toyotas of Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli were out early, followed by Toro Rosso No.3 Neel Jani.
Wurz took over from Davidson, 1:37.860, while Toro Rosso's Scott Speed and the MF1s of Tiago Monteiro and Christijan Albers also joined the times. Team third driver Giorgio Mondini was next along and Kimi Raikkonen put his McLaren to the top, 1:36.132. Michael Schumacher's Ferrari arrived in third shortly afterwards.
Davidson's Honda found the gravel in the last sector 15 minutes into the session, while Juan Pablo Montoya's McLaren clocked sixth on his first effort. Red Bull No.3 Robert Doornbos took fifth and Felipe Massa's Ferrari posted second, seven tenths off Raikkonen. Montoya quickly followed into third.
There was no change in the top three for a little while, with Wurz fourth and Michael and the temporarily departed Davidson making up the top six. Kubica was again doing a solid job for BMW in seventh, while Ralf, Doornbos and Trulli completed the top 10.
The trio of Toro Rossos were next, Speed leading Jani and Liuzzi, then the three MF1s with Albers ahead of Monteiro and Mondini. The Super Aguris of Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide rounded off the list at the time in 17th and 18th. Kubica improved to third and Mondini to 12th and the Renaults of Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella appeared.
Wurz moved up to second, half a second off Raikkonen, and Fisichella clocked fourth on his first flyer. Alonso went two better for second and Red Bull's Christian Klien started with 19th. Rubens Barrichello was the first Honda racer on the time sheet in seventh and teammate Jenson Button was one better for sixth.
Montoya appeared to stall in the pit lane while at the front it was then Alonso's 1:35.851 leading from Raikkonen and Massa. Nico Rosberg was the first Williams to appear, in 18th, then he improved a little to 15th. With 15 minutes remaining only Mark Webber's Williams and the BMW Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Jacques Villeneuve hadn't set a time.
Heidfeld was first to venture out and clocked 17th, then up to 10th, while Villeneuve took the 17th spot. Fisichella improved one place to take third off Massa but Alonso and Raikkonen weren't moved from the top until towards the end. Wurz clocked 1:35.388 to go fastest, nearly half a second up on Alonso.
Massa retook the third spot and Davidson eventually got himself back on track to post sixth in the closing minutes. Webber finally set a time in 20th right at the end and Villeneuve made a last minute effort up to ninth. Davidson snatched the top of the times in the dying seconds with a 1:35.041, three tenths up on Wurz.
"It hasn't been quite as straightforward a day as we hoped, due to the problem I had with the rears locking," said Honda's No.3. "This caused me to spin and lose a lot of time in the second session. Overall I think we ended the day in better shape and have some good information to work with to improve the car."
Wurz agreed with Davidson that the day was not without its complications. "We had two very interesting sessions and I choose the word interesting because they were not straightforward," he commented. "We will have to analyse our data as well as the information from Bridgestone."
Alonso seemed happy enough. "We did our job today and the R26 seems competitive," he summarised. "The car is easy to drive here, but we still need more grip and some small changes to the balance. But I think we have a good starting point for the rest of the weekend."
While there was more activity in this second session, some race drivers were still fairly conservative with their track time. Generally speaking the teams that looked most competitive were Renault, McLaren, Honda and Ferrari so no real surprises there. BMW wasn't too far behind while the Williams racers were some way down -- but they only did a few laps.
The Toyotas, Red Bulls and Toro Rossos ducked in and out of the top 10 but were mostly midfield, while MF1 and Super Aguri did their best at the back. Maybe we'll get a little excitement in Saturday's qualifying. Final top eight classification: Davidson, Wurz, Alonso, Massa, Raikkonen, Fisichella, M. Schumacher, Button.