Ferrari sets pace in Hungarian GP first practice

Ferrari sets pace in Hungarian GP first practice

Ferrari came out fighting in the first Friday practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Michael Schumacher leading Rubens Barrichello at the top of the times. Schumacher's best of 1:21.552 was just under four tenths ahead of his teammate.

Ferrari came out fighting in the first Friday practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Michael Schumacher leading Rubens Barrichello at the top of the times. Schumacher's best of 1:21.552 was just under four tenths ahead of his teammate. BAR third driver Anthony Davidson was the only one near the Ferraris, just fractionally behind Barrichello.

Michael Schumacher.
Photo by Bridgestone Corporation.

The track temperature was in the high thirties as the session kicked off and the conditions were dry, although humidity was quite high. Jordan third driver Timo Glock was first on the time sheet, 1:29.069, and he bought it down to 1:27.261 on his next lap. Jaguar counterpart Bj?rn Wirdheim slotted in behind, over a second and a half down.

Davidson took over from Glock, the BAR clocking 1:26.835, and Minardi No.3 Bas Leinders made it four on the board. Davidson improved to 1:26.280, nearly a second up on Glock, and Leinders was steadily bringing his times down. Initially he was over four and a half seconds off the lead pace, but within a few laps was just over three.

Wirdheim took over second, some eight tenths down on Davidson, but the BAR man upped the pace to 1:25.660, widening the gap to 1.5 seconds. Newly promoted Toyota No.3 Ryan Briscoe took fourth on his initial flyer -- Toyota has dropped Cristiano da Matta in favour of Ricardo Zonta and test driver Briscoe has taken over Zonta's Friday duties.

Felipe Massa was the first of the race drivers on the time sheet, the Sauber taking the top slot with a 1:24.218. He was immediately eclipsed by teammate Giancarlo Fisichella's 1:1:24.198 -- just over a second faster. Williams' Antonio Pizzonia slotted into sixth and Jordan's Nick Heidfeld into fourth. Minardi's Gianmaria Bruni rounded off the top ten.

Pizzonia improved to third fastest and Takuma Sato put his BAR ninth on his first timed lap. Giorgio Pantano made sixth, one behind teammate Heidfeld, but was demoted by Sato taking the position. Glock put in a good lap for second quickest, six tenths down on Fisichella, and Leinders improved ahead of Bruni -- but the gap between the Minardi's and the front of the field was up to 4.5 seconds again.

Davidson had a flyer of a middle sector and clocked 1:23.994 for the top, two tenths up on the Sauber. Wirdheim moved up to third and Schumacher blitzed the field when he made an appearance with 20 minutes to go. 1:21.552 for the Ferrari, two and a half seconds faster.

Man-of-the-moment Jenson Button put his BAR third on his first effort but was immediately demoted by Renault's Jarno Trulli. Teammate Fernando Alonso, who was the winner at Hungary last year, posted eighth on his first flyer. Juan Pablo Montoya managed 10th in the Williams on his first timed effort and Barrichello slotted in behind Schumacher -- but still over two seconds down.

Alonso improved to sixth and Zonta took 13th on his first effort as race driver for Toyota. Teammate Olivier Panis shot into third fastest -- a man with a lot to prove if he wants to keep his seat next season. The Jaguars and McLarens were last to hit the track, Christian Klien posting 19th for the former on his first flyer.

Barrichello improved to three tenths of Schumacher and Glock was having a positive morning, moving up to 11th after being shuffled down the order, with teammate Pantano in 12th. Klien hopped up one to 18th and Davidson's next flyer took him to third, just under four tenths down on Schumacher.

David Coulthard was the first McLaren out, with five minutes to go, and clocked fourth, and Klien's morning ended when he spun off in the middle sector. Kimi Raikkonen barrelled out in the last minute to take fourth from teammate Coulthard and Montoya climbed up to sixth. Briscoe made a creditable effort for eighth, one behind teammate Panis.

At the end of the session Jaguar's Mark Webber had not set a time due to an exhaust glitch, and local lad Zsolt Baumgartner's Minardi was 23rd. It was a very strong showing from Ferrari, with only Davidson on the pace of Schumacher and Barrichello. McLaren didn't ventured out until late in the session but it was enough for fourth and fifth, although 1.5 off the pace.

Toyota looked fairly healthy, as did Williams, Renault and BAR. The rest were a mixed bunch, Wirdheim being the best of the Jaguars and Pantano the best of the Jordans. After their early showing, Fisichella ended 12th and Massa a lowly 20th. Final top eight classification: Schumacher, Barrichello, Davidson, Raikkonen, Coulthard, Montoya, Panis, Briscoe.

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