Ferrari led the way in the first Friday practice for the Italian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello taking the top two spots at the Scuderia's home circuit. Schumacher's best was 1:20.526, with Barrichello some three tenths ...
Ferrari led the way in the first Friday practice for the Italian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello taking the top two spots at the Scuderia's home circuit. Schumacher's best was 1:20.526, with Barrichello some three tenths behind. BAR third driver Anthony Davidson was closest to the Ferraris in the initial outing at Monza.
The third drivers made the early running; Jordan's Timo Glock was first to set a time, 1:25.498, which he then lowered by a couple of tenths. Minardi's Bas Leinders and Jaguar's Bj?rn Wirdheim joined the action, Wirdheim taking over the top spot with a 1:24.942. Toyota's Ryan Briscoe was next to the top, 1:23.774, and Davidson slotted into fourth.
Davidson then went fastest with a 1:22.843 and shaved another couple of tenths off on the next lap. The Minardi racers, Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt Baumgartner, made it seven on the time sheet but there was little activity in the first half-hour. All the teams were testing at Monza last week so a lot of set up work will already have been done.
Sauber's Felipe Massa posted 1:22.266 on his first flyer to take over the top slot by half a second from Davidson, and Jordan's Nick Heidfeld took fifth on his initial foray. Davidson retaliated with a 1:21.488 to regain the top, over seven tenths up on Massa. The second Sauber of Giancarlo Fisichella slotted into third and Giorgio Pantano made seventh behind teammate Heidfeld.
Glock improved to fifth and the Ferraris went out in tandem; Schumacher went quickest, 1:20.526, and Barrichello took second, six tenths down. Antonio Pizzonia was the first Williams on the time sheet, fourth, and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya clocked seventh. Fernando Alonso was the first Renault, sixth, and his teammate Jarno Trulli posted ninth.
Alonso improved to fourth and the Toyota race drivers joined in, Ricardo Zonta slotting into 11th and Olivier Panis 10th. Trulli moved up to fifth, and it was only Davidson's BAR separating the Renaults from the Ferraris. With fifteen minutes left the Jaguar and BAR race drivers had yet to make an appearance, along with the McLarens.
Schumacher had a brief flirt with a gravel trap but kept it going and Briscoe improved to 12th after being shuffled down the order. Christian Klien put his Jaguar 16th on his first effort and teammate Mark Webber managed one better for 15th. Davidson improved his time but stayed third and Webber climbed another couple of places to 13th.
BAR's Takuma Sato put in an appearance towards the end, as did the McLaren duo of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard. Sato clocked eighth, Raikkonen fourth and Coulthard 12th. Wirdheim improved to seventh and Leinders made a good lap to put his Minardi ahead of Klien and both Jordan race drivers, as well as his teammates.
Jenson Button was the last man to post a time, the BAR taking sixth in the final five minutes. Barrichello improved his time but stayed second and there were some other improvements further down the field but it was a quiet session overall.
As usual it was an inconclusive first practice. Not many laps were done apart from the third drivers, Glock's 28 being the most. Barrichello only did four laps, while Baumgartner and Massa did 13 apiece for the most of the race drivers. Ferrari was the only Bridgestone team in the top ten and Davidson was closest to the reds, over three tenths off Schumacher's quickest.
There was then a gap of over a second to Raikkonen in fourth and from Zonta in 16th the gap increased to over two seconds. Wirdheim put in a good show to finish eighth, the best Jaguar, but there were no surprises. Final top eight classification: Schumacher, Barrichello, Davidson, Raikkonen, Alonso, Button, Trulli, Wirdheim.