It may have been McLaren at the top of the time sheets during the recent testing at Monza but in the opening practice session for the Italian Grand Prix it was Ferrari that led the way. Kimi Raikkonen's best time of 1:22.446 on Friday morning was...
It may have been McLaren at the top of the time sheets during the recent testing at Monza but in the opening practice session for the Italian Grand Prix it was Ferrari that led the way. Kimi Raikkonen's best time of 1:22.446 on Friday morning was a tenth and a half up on Scuderia teammate Felipe Massa as the reds set the early pace for their home event.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was third fastest, just a couple of hundredths behind Massa, and teammate Fernando Alonso was fourth. Alonso spent an hour in the garage early on after experiencing some kind of problem on his installation lap but joined the top ranks when he returned to the track. Only those four were in the 1:22 bracket, four tenths apart.
The Williams of Nico Rosberg was the best of the rest in fifth and as has become familiar in practices he was some way ahead of teammate Alex Wurz, who was 16th and over a second off Rosberg. Williams is using a new front wing configuration this weekend, similar to McLaren's with an extra vane forming a 'bridge' above the end of the nose cone.
Jenson Button's Honda was a bit of a surprise visitor to the upper end of the time sheet in sixth, although he was over a second off Raikkonen's pace. Rubens Barrichello was 12th and over two seconds off the lead Ferrari. Giancarlo Fisichella was the lead Renault in seventh and Heikki Kovalainen was 11th, four tenths behind his teammate.
The BMW Saubers were a little further down the list from their usual places behind McLaren and Ferrari, Robert Kubica eighth and Nick Heidfeld ninth. Toyota's Jarno Trulli rounded off the top 10 while Ralf Schumacher was 15th. Everyone from Rosberg on down was over a second off Raikkonen and from Barrichello it stretched to over two seconds.
Takuma Sato had a reasonable morning and put his Super Aguri 13th while the second Japanese car of Anthony Davidson was 17th, although the gap between them was only just over a tenth. Mark Webber led for Red Bull in 14th and teammate David Coulthard was 18th but despite the space between them on the list it was only a couple of tenths in time.
Adrian Sutil's Spyker was 19th and Sakon Yamamoto was 21st -- not much evidence yet of the improvement the new B spec car was hoped to bring, although they weren't at the very back. That unwelcome distinction fell to Toro Rosso's Tonio Liuzzi, who was over three seconds off the pace and three tenths behind teammate Sebastian Vettel in 20th.
There were a few minor incidents this session, spins and off track moments, including the McLaren duo spinning in formation, but nothing too exciting. As usual it's very close at the top; Ferrari might have the edge this morning but it's a very thin one. Final top eight classification: Raikkonen, Massa, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Button, Fisichella, Kubica.