Ferrari set the pace in Friday's opening practice session for the San Marino Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher leading Rubens Barrichello at the top of the time sheet. Schumacher's best of 1:20.084 was well over a second clear of his teammate and...
Ferrari set the pace in Friday's opening practice session for the San Marino Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher leading Rubens Barrichello at the top of the time sheet. Schumacher's best of 1:20.084 was well over a second clear of his teammate and over two seconds faster than Ralf Schumacher's Williams in third fastest.
Weather conditions were a cool 22 degrees, track temperature about the same, and as usual it was the third drivers who made the early running after the installation laps. Toyota's Ricardo Zonta was the first to put in a flyer, 1:27.349, followed by Jaguar's Bj?rn Wirdheim into second, six tenths down. Timo Glock took third fastest for Jordan and Minardi race driver Gianmaria Bruni was next in line. The team's third driver Bas Leinders followed the Italian.
Wirdheim moved up to the top slot with a 1:27.071, then improved to 1:26.608. Barrichello was the first of the front runners to set a more competitive time, 1:24.547, and Zonta moved back to second quickest, two and a half seconds down. The second Minardi of Zsolt Baumgartner joined the action, fifth of only seven drivers on track in the first 25 minutes.
Michael Schumacher eclipsed teammate Barrichello on his first flyer, 1:21.522, and Ralf Schumacher put his Williams third fastest, both he and Barrichello over a second off Michael's pace. Cristiano da Matta was the first Toyota race driver on the time sheet, fifth, and the pair of Jordan racers were in the top ten. Juan Pablo Montoya joined the little group of heavy hitters at the top, fourth behind teammate Ralf.
BAR's Anthony Davidson proved his consistency by being the best of the third drivers, taking fifth quickest, but was demoted by Renault's Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard was followed by Sauber's Felipe Massa and Zonta, who fought for sixth. Olivier Panis put his Toyota seventh and Jarno Trulli outpaced teammate Alonso by a narrow margin to take the fifth slot.
A fairly familiar line-up at the top -- two Ferraris, followed by two Williams, two Renaults -- held static for a while and McLaren had yet to make an appearance. Barrichello overtook Michael with a 1:21.443, just eight hundredths up, and the German promptly retaliated with 1:20.084 -- over a second faster.
Mark Webber put his Jaguar in the top ten and David Coulthard was the first McLaren on the time sheet, ninth fastest. Davidson improved to fourth quickest and Jenson Button moved his BAR to fifth to shuffle the order. Kimi Raikkonen managed eighth, three slots ahead of teammate Coulthard. Further down the field the Jordans were lapping ahead of the Minardis, Toyota not too far ahead apart from Zonta in the top ten.
Glock came off the track in the final sector with a few minutes to go and there were no surprises in this first session. Button kept his momentum going with the front runners and McLaren was slightly off the pace, although Raikkonen and Coulthard only put in a dozen laps between them. Final top eight classification: M. Schumacher, Barrichello, R. Schumacher, Davidson, Button, Montoya, Trulli, Raikkonen.