There was no change at the top of the times in the second Friday practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, Ferrari laying down the gauntlet once again. Michael Schumacher's best was 1:24.718 and Rubens Barrichello just a tenth behind. Jarno...
There was no change at the top of the times in the second Friday practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, Ferrari laying down the gauntlet once again. Michael Schumacher's best was 1:24.718 and Rubens Barrichello just a tenth behind. Jarno Trulli stuck to third for Renault and this session saw the first problems of the weekend for three teams.
Ralf Schumacher was next up with a 1:27.578 for Williams, his best did not stand as the fast time again was beaten immediately by Michael's Ferrari with 1:25.523. Renault's Fernando Alonso slotted into second quickest, only to be deposed by the second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello, in a very active first few minutes of on track time.
Ralf, along with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, Jaguar's third driver Bjorn Wirdheim and Toyota's Cristiano da Matta were all early runners in the top ten. Kimi Raikkonen put his McLaren fourth fastest and BAR's Jenson Button took sixth, then Trulli took over fifth. Button retaliated to go fourth but it was still the two Ferraris up front by over a second.
Ralf improved to third as Trulli snatched back fourth from Button, and further down the field there was more activity. Montoya slipped outside the top ten. Jordan's third driver Timo Glock took 15th as Davidson improved to eighth and the Minardis were the last of the runners on track.
Alonso bounced back up to third, just three tenths off Barrichello, the closest yet to the Ferraris. Fisichella improved to tenth and Jaguar's Christian Klien to 15th, the Toyota's falling out of the top ten. Takuma Sato spun his BAR and Glock was the first casualty of the weekend, pulling over to the side of the track in the first sector with a mechanical problem.
Michael bettered his time to 1:24.718 and Mark Webber hurled the Jaguar up to fifth. Olivier Panis and Massa improved outside the top ten, McLaren's David Coulthard slotted into tenth. Trulli displaced Webber and Montoya moved up to seventh but Jordan wasn't having much luck, Nick Heidfeld and Giorgio Pantano were near the bottom of the times.
Jaguar third driver Bjorn Wirdheim put in some handy laps early on but also slipped back, as did Toyota's Ricardo Zonta. Sato recovered from his spin and after a trip to the pits popped up into seventh, as Zonta improved to ninth. Michael had a brief off road experience and da Matta a quick flirt with the gravel but both escaped.
Raikkonen was the next mover, up to eighth with teammate Coulthard to fifth, while Barrichello improved his time. Button and Montoya took sixth in quick succession and Trulli took third from Alonso. Fisichella moved up to 12th and Minardi's Zsolt Baumgartner was at the bottom of the times, teammate Gianmaria Bruni 20th, ahead of the Jordans.
Webber improved to seventh and Fisichella was still making steady progress, up to 11th and then 10th. Montoya had a brief off and Da Matta was the next casualty, stopping in the middle sector with a deflated back tyre. Raikkonen took tenth from Fisichella but it was fairly static at the top.
After climbing to fourth, Button joined the list of retirees as he came to a halt in the third sector in the final minutes with what looked like an engine problem. Michael put in another couple of laps and although he did not improve his time, he was still at the top.
Renault was Ferraris closest challenger with Trulli and Alonso third and fifth respectively, aside from Button's last effort. More laps were put in this session than the earlier one, although not a great deal more, and there's not much difference from Friday practices of last season: Ferrari, Williams, Renault and McLaren making the best times, with Button and Webber running interference.
Bridgestone was slightly better off this time, Fisichella in 11th the next quickest after the Ferraris, but the Michelin runners have some work to do -- Michael and Barrichello remained a second quicker than rivals. Final top eight classification: M. Schumacher, Barrichello, Trulli, Button, Alonso, R. Schumacher, Montoya, and Coulthard.