De la Rosa sets the pace in Spanish GP first practice

De la Rosa sets the pace in Spanish GP first practice

McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa was at the top of the time sheet after Friday's first practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, the team's third driver setting a time of 1:15.675. Red Bull's Christian Klien was second quickest, just over a second...

McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa was at the top of the time sheet after Friday's first practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, the team's third driver setting a time of 1:15.675. Red Bull's Christian Klien was second quickest, just over a second down on the McLaren, and the Williams of Nick Heidfeld was third.

Pedro de la Rosa.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Williams had problems this morning when Mark Webber and Heidfeld's BMW engines were found to have faulty exhaust valves. Webber was due to run a new engine this weekend and Heidfeld the same unit that he used in Imola. Both will now get new engines rather than risk a failure.

While waiting for the new units from Munich, Webber will not take part in today's practice sessions but Heidfeld will, and will change engine tomorrow, thus suffering the 10 place grid demotion penalty in qualifying.

After half the pack came out for installation laps at the start of the session it was Toyota third driver Ricardo Zonta that set the first flyer, 1:20.816. He bought it down by a couple of seconds on his next trip round the circuit, 1:18.103, and Klien, still on third driver duties for Red Bull, followed into second.

Jordan No.3 Robert Doornbos clocked third fastest but de la Rosa took the position off him on his first effort. The Spaniard then climbed to second, six tenths off Zonta. Minardi's Patrick Friesacher joined in fifth and Michael Schumacher was out quite early to put his Ferrari second, three tenths down on Zonta.

The second Minardi of Christijan Albers slotted into sixth and Jordan's Narain Karthikeyan into fifth. De la Rosa took over at the top with a 1:17.658, four tenths up on Zonta, Juan Pablo Montoya, returned to action after a two race absence due to injury, put his McLaren fourth. Heidfeld moved to the top but was immediately demoted by Michael's 1:17.574.

David Coulthard's Red Bull took fourth and teammate Tonio Liuzzi clocked seventh, while Felipe Massa was the first Sauber to set a time, ninth. De la Rosa again returned to the top, 1:16.675, over a second and a half up on Heidfeld who slotted in behind. The Williams was dropped a place by Klien closing the gap to 1.1. Tiago Monterio's Jordan joined the action in 14th.

The second Sauber of Jacques Villeneuve clocked 113th and Heidfeld improved his time but stayed third. Kimi Raikkonen slotted his McLaren into fifth and Villeneuve moved up to 11th, while Monteiro moved one ahead of teammate Karthikeyan for 13th. Ralf Schumacher was the only Toyota race driver to set a time, ninth, and Zonta came to a halt on track in the middle sector with hydraulic problems.

Doornbos and Albers both had off-track excursions but recovered and overall it was a fairly quiet session, with the Renaults, Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello, Toyota's Jarno Trulli, and of course Webber, not setting a time. Final top eight classification: De la Rosa, Klien, Heidfeld, M. Schumacher, Raikkonen, Coulthard, Zonta, Liuzzi.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan