Ferrari leads in Brazilian GP final practice

Ferrari leads in Brazilian GP final practice

Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher made it a Ferrari one-two at the top of the times in the last practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Barrichello's best of 1:10.229 was just over a tenth ahead of his teammate and McLaren's Kimi ...

Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher made it a Ferrari one-two at the top of the times in the last practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Barrichello's best of 1:10.229 was just over a tenth ahead of his teammate and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen was third. Michael crashed out right at the end of the second session but was uninjured.

Rubens Barrichello.
Photo by Bridgestone Corporation.

Both track and air temperature was in the low twenties at the start of the first 45 minute session and the Minardis were first to take to the track, along with Jordan's Timo Glock. The McLarens were next to appear, then the second Jordan of Nick Heidfeld and BAR's Takuma Sato, followed by the Williams duo.

Bizarrely, the session was red-flagged after five minutes because there was a dog on the track. The adventuresome canine led the marshals on a merry chase for some time, so the Jaguar boys entertained themselves with the infamous Donkey while the mutt continued to evade capture attempts.

As if this wasn't odd enough, another dog decided to join the track action. Could the morning get any stranger? All it needed was an electric bunny to come whizzing past and we could have had an altogether different race. The canine culprits were finally apprehended and did not set a lap time.

Only 15 minutes remained when the session was restarted and the cars were quickly out on the now dog-less circuit. Michael, Fernando Alonso's Renault and Mark Webber's Jaguar were the first top three, Michael's best a 1:11.918. Juan Pablo Montoya put his Williams second and was immediately demoted by teammate Ralf Schumacher.

Jaguar's Christian Klien posted fifth, with Heidfeld behind in sixth, and Sato was next to the top, 1:11.580. Barrichello made third and Ricardo Zonta was the first Toyota out, 13th. Giancarlo Fisichella continued Sauber's pace from yesterday with fourth and teammate Felipe Massa was fractionally behind in fifth.

The second Toyota of Jarno Trulli clocked eighth and Ralf moved up to seventh after being shuffled down the order. Raikkonen posted second and David Coulthard took seventh. Jenson Button took over from teammate Sato at the top, 1:11.466 and Michael improved his time but stayed fifth.

There were a few improvements further down the field and Ralf edged ahead of Michael to take fifth. Time quickly ran out and the top three remained the same at the close of the session, Button, Sato, Raikkonen. Jacques Villeneuve did not set a time, his Renault returning to the pits early on after a spin.

The track temperature had climbed a few degrees by the start of the second session but conditions remained cool. Zsolt Baumgartner started the proceedings, his Minardi posting 1:15.006, and Glock took over with 1:14.852. Webber was next up, 1:13.799, immediately followed by Raikkonen's 1:12.549. Gianmaria Bruni joined in fifth in the second Minardi.

Klien took second and Villeneuve got out on track to post third. Michael took over the top with a 1:11.270 and Montoya slotted in behind, down by four tenths. Heidfeld clocked eighth and Alonso relieved Montoya of second by a couple of hundredths. Button and Sato joined in fifth and sixth then Coulthard took the sixth position.

Massa posted seventh and Coulthard moved up one to fifth, with Ralf in between in sixth. Button took over seventh and Trulli improved to fifth, while Coulthard spun in the pit lane when he braked too hard for the speed limiter. Webber climbed to 11th after being bounced down the order and Villeneuve made a good effort for second.

The Canadian was eclipsed by Barrichello and Alonso in quick succession and Coulthard went to the top with a 1:10.786, nearly half a second up on Michael. Alonso took another flyer to post second, then Raikkonen belted out a 1:10.385 for four tenths up on teammate Coulthard. Montoya clocked fourth and Fisichella improved to sixth.

Michael joined the 1:10 club, taking the top of the times with a 1:10.352, just three hundredths up on Raikkonen. Button posted third and Massa moved up to fifth ahead of Alonso. Barrichello swapped Ferraris at the top, 1:10.229, and Sato, who had been languishing in the midfield, jumped up to seventh.

Button took over fourth, while the Williams pair lurked at the edge of the top ten. After the dogs, another oddity occurred: in the final minutes Michael's Ferrari careered off track at turn six and crashed heavily into the barriers. He was unharmed and the session was red-flagged but was practically over anyway.

A peculiar start and finish to the Saturday practices; Michael was obviously on form until he crashed but he will need to use the spare car for qualifying. There was a small fire at the back of his race car after the crash and it's yet to be seen if the engine is intact. Barrichello also looked on the pace, as did the McLarens. The usual suspects made up the top eight, Webber and Massa looking good in ninth and tenth.

Williams appeared a little less enthusiastic than yesterday and the Toyotas were well down in the midfield. There was nothing unusual at the back, Jordan and Minardi arguing amongst themselves. It could be a Ferrari or a McLaren will be on pole but there's room for surprises. Final top eight classification: Barrichello, M. Schumacher, Raikkonen, Coulthard, Button, Alonso, R. Schumacher, Sato.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan