McLaren underlined its pace in the last practice sessions for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya first and second fastest at the end of Saturday morning. Raikkonen, who was also quickest in the first session, ...
McLaren underlined its pace in the last practice sessions for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya first and second fastest at the end of Saturday morning. Raikkonen, who was also quickest in the first session, clocked a best of 1:20.203 and Montoya was three tenths behind. Ferrari showed some improvement with Michael Schumacher third.
The track and air temperatures were around 30 degrees as the first session got under way. The Minardi duo of Robert Doornbos and Christijan Albers were quickly out on the circuit, followed by the Jordans of Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan, along with McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen.
They all did an installation lap apiece but nobody was inclined to make an effort for much more in the first 25 minutes. Albers finally clocked a time of 1:27.747 but Fernando Alonso immediately arrived with a 1:24.022, the Renault eclipsing the Minardi by nearly three seconds. Monteiro took third and Toyota's Ralf Schumacher went second.
Giancarlo Fisichella took the second spot off Ralf, a couple of tenths down on teammate Alonso, then both were demoted by Michael's Ferrari, 1:23.330. BAR's Takuma Sato joined in fifth and Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve sixth, while Ralf regained the second position, just under two tenths off Michael.
There were a few changes of position at the front and then the McLarens arrived, Montoya's fastest of 1:21.980 and Raikkonen slotted in behind just five hundredths down. Michael moved back up to third, with Alonso behind, then came the Toyotas of Jarno Trulli and Ralf. Both Williams' were in the top ten, and the Sauber of Felipe Massa.
Ralf improved to fourth and Michael to second, and Raikkonen took the top of the times with a 1:21.686, a tenth and half up on the Ferrari. That brief spate of activity near the end saw everyone get out and set a time, the BARs and Red Bulls just outside the top ten and the Minardis and Jordans at the back. Raikkonen stayed fastest from Michael and Montoya.
The second session started as slow as the first and after 10 minutes Raikkonen was first on the time sheet with a leisurely 1:27.339. Villeneuve took over, 1:24.653, and Monteiro posted third. Karthikeyan joined second then Sato went quickest, 1:24.576. It was short lived as Villeneuve returned with a 1:24.391.
Montoya was next to the top, 1:21.863, and Ralf slotted into second 1.2 down. Raikkonen demoted Montoya by three and a half tenths, 1:21.527, and Trulli took third. He was ousted by Michael and Montoya closed the gap to Raikkonen to a tenth. Alonso joined in sixth and Fisichella 11th, then Heidfeld took the sixth spot.
Alonso climbed to fourth and Fisichella to sixth, Alonso half a second off the McLarens. Massa arrived in 10th, one behind Button, and Coulthard took 11th. Webber took Massa's spot and Klien clocked 14th on his first effort. Button went up one to eighth and further down the field Karthikeyan led the Jordans and Minardis in 16th.
Coulthard improved to 10th and Klien to 9th, while Doornbos took over from Karthikeyan. Barrichello was a late starter after 25 minutes but went straight to the top, 1:21.266 for two and a half tenths up on Raikkonen. Trulli was the first incident of the day when his Toyota came to a halt in the middle sector with some kind of problem.
Alonso improved to second, just seven hundredths off Barrichello, and Raikkonen responded with a 1:20.219 to leave the Ferrari and the Renault over a second down. Montoya took second, three tenths off his teammate. Button went up to fourth but the last 10 minutes went quiet again. Doornbos got himself up to 15th, ahead of Sato and the Saubers.
Villeneuve must have been peeved to be behind a Minardi as his Sauber took the place off Doornbos, while Sato and Massa swiftly climbed to ninth and 12th respectively to redeem themselves. Raikkonen blasted out another flyer to improve slightly to 1:20.203 and Heidfeld made a last minute climb to 11th.
Once again the McLarens were flying this morning but Michael and Ralf were not too far behind. From Barrichello in fifth the gap was over a second and it's very hard to judge what may happen in qualifying. At a guess, a McLaren on pole but you never know. Final top eight classification: Raikkonen, Montoya, M. Schumacher, R. Schumacher, Barrichello, Fisichella, Button, Alonso.