Honda third driver Anthony Davidson was at the top of the time sheet in the second Friday practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, although the time set by Ferrari's Felipe Massa in the morning remained the fastest of the day. Davidson's ...
Honda third driver Anthony Davidson was at the top of the time sheet in the second Friday practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, although the time set by Ferrari's Felipe Massa in the morning remained the fastest of the day. Davidson's 1:16.533 was seven tenths slower, while second quickest was Red Bull No.3 Robert Doornbos and Renault's Fernando Alonso was third.
Conditions were slightly improved from the morning with the track temperature up around 40 degrees at the start of the session. BMW Sauber third driver Robert Kubica was out first, followed by MF1 and Red Bull counterparts Giorgio Mondini and Doornbos. Davidson and Toro Rosso No.3 Neel Jani joined them.
Williams third driver Alex Wurz went out too and the Super Aguri of Takuma Sato. Davidson came out on top of the early quick laps, 1:20.054, followed by Doornbos, Mondini, Sato and Jani. Doornbos took over with a 1:19.869 and Davidson came back over his next couple of laps to clock 1:19.470.
Franck Montagny's Super Aguri arrived in sixth and Kubica posted second on his first flyer. Davidson lowered his top time to 1:18.970, which left Kubica half a second off, then Doornbos moved into second, two and a half tenths down. Tiago Monteiro's MF1 took eighth and Ralf Schumacher Toyota started at the top, 1:18.660.
Ralf's teammate Jarno Trulli clocked fourth and Felipe Massa's Ferrari posted sixth on his first flyer. Jani improved to third and Massa to fifth, while Nico Rosberg took second his initial effort, the Williams a tenth off Ralf. Wurz climbed to fourth and Davidson returned to the top with a 1:18.463, two tenths up on Ralf.
Michael Schumacher's Ferrari took fourth but dropped when Massa improved to third straight afterwards. Michael retaliated by going to the top, just under a tenth up on Davidson with a 1:18.381. Tonio Liuzzi's Toro Rosso managed 12th on his first timed lap, a couple of places behind teammate Scott Speed.
Jacques Villeneuve put his BMW Sauber 11th and Michael lowered his time to 1:18.057. Doornbos returned after being shuffled down the order and took second then Villeneuve shot to the top with a 1:18.007, just half a tenth up on Michael. He was quickly removed by the 1:17.417 clocked by Honda's Rubens Barrichello, six tenths up.
Sato split the MF1s with 16th, between Christijan Albers and Mondini, and the BMW Sauber of Nick Heidfeld started with ninth. Trulli improved from the midfield to 10th and Davidson put in a hot lap of fastest sectors to go back to the top, 1:17.064. Alonso put his Renault second quickest when he ventured out for a time.
The local hero then went fastest, 1:16.860 for two tenths up on Davidson. Mark Webber's Williams took fourth and Giancarlo Fisichella went one better for third when his Renault appeared. Michael, who had been moved down the order, climbed to fourth and Doornbos followed suit into sixth, the last within a second of Alonso at the time.
Jenson Button's Honda posted fourth on his first flyer and the Red Bull of Christian Klien took eighth. Heidfeld improved to take the spot off him then Klien jumped up to third. Ralf, who had been moved outside the top 10, climbed to eighth and Doornbos took over at the top with a 1:16.824, less than a tenth up on Alonso.
With 10 minutes to go only Red Bull's David Coulthard and the McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya had not set a time. Montoya was the first to make a bit of an effort to post 20th, while further up the field Michael climbed to sixth. Coulthard managed 18th when he got onto the time sheet.
Davidson removed Doornbos with a 1:16.553 and Montoya improved slightly to 17th, while Raikkonen finally appeared with a few minutes to go. The Finn clocked 15th and was not inclined to do any more than that. There was no change at the front, with Davidson leading Doornbos and Alonso.
"The car feels a lot better than it did in the first session but we still have a lot of work to do to get the best out of it for the race," said Davidson. "For me, tyre evaluation was the name of the game. Our work today has paid off and we have some interesting results to look through tonight. A good start to the weekend I'd say."
A wet track this morning was a new experience for Doornbos in Spain. "I've never driven here in the wet before, so I was surprised to see it raining this morning," he remarked. "It dried out pretty quick though, which meant we were able to do our job. We did two long runs this afternoon, the second of which was very consistent and quick."
Alonso was pleased with Renault's start to his home race weekend. "We checked the tyres and didn't have any big problems, because the results were quite similar to the test," said the Spaniard. "I am looking forward to qualifying and the race, and I hope I can give the fans something to enjoy!"
There's been a lot of talk about tyres for this weekend and the Michelin runners appeared to have the upper hand in this session. Wurz, fourth, was the best Bridgestone runner and Michael and Ralf, sixth and 10th respectively, were the only two other top 10 drivers on the Japanese manufacturer's rubber.
Honda appeared to have pretty good pace, as did Renault, but it was harder to tell with the others. The McLarens only did nine laps between them and while Michael was sixth, Massa was down in 17th. Red Bull looked handy, or at least Doornbos and Klien did -- Coulthard only did six laps and was 20th.
Toyota was just on the edge of the top 10, with the BMWs not far behind, but Williams was edging into midfield territory. A clearer picture should emerge on Saturday morning if the weather remains reasonable. Final top eight classification: Davidson, Doornbos, Alonso, Wurz, Klien, M. Schumacher, Fisichella, Button.