Ferrari led the way in Saturday morning's last practice for the US Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa both over a second ahead of the competition. Michael's best time was a scorching 1:10.760 and Massa was a couple of tenths behind.
Ferrari led the way in Saturday morning's last practice for the US Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa both over a second ahead of the competition. Michael's best time was a scorching 1:10.760 and Massa was a couple of tenths behind. Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella was third fastest.
The track temperature was in the mid thirties at the start of the session and the MF1s of Tiago Monteiro and Christijan Albers were first out on the circuit. They only did an installation lap apiece before heading back to the pits and nobody else was keen to get going. Super Aguri's Takuma Sato was next to appear but he too didn't linger.
Ten minutes later Mark Webber's Williams ventured out, followed by the Red Bull of David Coulthard. They were joined by BMW Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve and Webber set the first time, 1:14.475. Coulthard was seven tenths off and a few more drivers started to appear. Ralf Schumacher's Toyota was next and the Williams of Nico Rosberg.
The Toro Rosso of local hero Scott Speed joined in, followed by teammate Tonio Liuzzi, while Villeneuve took the second spot. Webber was on a quick lap and lowered his time to 1:13.675, leaving Villeneuve half a second down. Christian Klien's Red Bull and Fisichella's Renault were next out on track.
Speed took third and Liuzzi fourth, then came Coulthard, Rosberg and Sato. Klien improved to second, three tenths off Webber, and Kimi Raikkonen put his McLaren to the top on his first timed run, 1:13.436. Jarno Trulli's Toyota arrived in third and Speed took over from Raikkonen with a 1:13.417.
Fisichella clocked seventh then climbed to fourth and Jenson Button's Honda posted eighth on his first flyer. Fisichella was still lapping and went to the top, 1:13.357, and the top four were separated by less than a tenth. Juan Pablo Montoya's McLaren posted ninth and Michael's Ferrari clocked 1:12.484 for the top.
Fisichella moved into second and Button into third, while the second Honda of Rubens Barrichello started with 12th. Michael lowered his time to 1:12.145, leaving Fisichella over a second down. Fernando Alonso took the second slot off his teammate but was a similar margin behind the lead Ferrari.
Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber was next to take the second position, nine tenths off Michael, who had shaved a couple of hundredths off his time, while Ralf made the list in 10th. Alonso retook second, less than a tenth quicker than Heidfeld and by half way through the session only Super Aguri's Franck Montagny and Massa hadn't set a time.
Speed improved to fourth after being moved down the order and Liuzzi did likewise to fifth. Massa set fastest sectors all round on his first timed effort, a blistering 1:11.039 for just over a second up on Michael. Towards the back, Montagny also made and appearance and posted 18th ahead of the MF1s and teammate Sato.
Villeneuve moved up to sixth after being dropped down and the McLarens also improved, Raikkonen to third and Montoya to eighth. Heidfeld took the second spot, the time still over a second off Massa, then towards the end it got quiet again. Rosberg climbed from near the back to 11th, one place ahead of teammate Webber.
Barrichello made a slight improvement to fourth, and Villeneuve followed into fifth, while Ralf went up from 17th to 10th. In the last few minutes Montoya took seventh and Fisichella second then Michael put in a last gasp hot lap to clock a scorching 1:10.760, over two and half tenths up on teammate Massa.
Ferrari was certainly impressive on a quick lap, which looks good for the reds for this afternoon. Renault, Honda, BMW Sauber and McLaren were solidly in the top 10 so qualifying should be interesting. Final top eight classification: M. Schumacher, Massa, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Barrichello, Alonso, Button, Villeneuve.