Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest man in the first practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Williams driver clocking a best of 1:12.547 on Friday morning. Montoya set his time in the final minutes of the session and Toyota third driver Ryan ...
Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest man in the first practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Williams driver clocking a best of 1:12.547 on Friday morning. Montoya set his time in the final minutes of the session and Toyota third driver Ryan Briscoe was just a few hundredths behind. The second Williams of Ralf Schumacher made up the top three.
The track temperature remained steady in the mid forties, with the air temperature some 20 degrees lower, for the first practice. The Sauber duo of Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella led out for installation laps, quickly followed by more. Jordan third driver Robert Doornbos wasn't sure if he was going or not, as he stopped in the first sector but then set off again. He clocked the first timed lap, 1:21.833.
On his next couple of laps he bought it down to 1:17.327, while Briscoe and Jaguar No.3 Bj?rn Wirdheim were second and third. Jordan race driver Timo Glock took over the third spot and Briscoe improved his time but stayed second. BAR third driver Anthony Davidson went to the top on his first flyer, 1:16.148, half a second up on Doornbos.
Minardi's Gianmaria Bruni joined the action in sixth and Briscoe moved up to second quickest, just over a tenth off Davidson. Davidson promptly improved his time to 1:15.738, widening the gap to half a second. Bruni improved to fourth but was immediately demoted by Glock taking the position, and those six had the track to themselves for the first 25 minutes.
The second Minardi of Zsolt Baumgartner made it seven on the time sheet and Ralf was the first of the front runners to make an appearance. The Williams took over at the top with a 1:15.529, two tenths quicker than Davidson. Ralf improved to 1:14.601 on his next lap, the gap to the BAR growing to over a second.
Montoya was next to join and slotted into second behind teammate Ralf, just one hundredth slower. Nick Heidfeld put his Jordan sixth on his first effort and Jaguar's Christian Klien posted 11th on his. He then improved to seventh but was immediately demoted by Fisichella finally posting a time, taking the seventh position.
Massa clocked third quickest on his first timed lap and Rubens Barrichello started Ferrari's day with eighth. Fernando Alonso was the first Renault to make an appearance and he went to the top with a 1:14.510. It was short lived, however, as Barrichello wound up another flyer for 1:1:13.988.
Michael Schumacher managed fifth initially and BAR's Takuma Sato slotted into eighth. Teammate Jenson Button started with a sedate 15th then moved up to ninth, while Michael climbed the times to second, four tenths down on Barrichello. Jarno Trulli posted fifth for Toyota and teammate Ricardo Zonta was eighth.
Davidson returned to the top with a 1:13.874 and Ralf improved to third ahead of Michael. Jacques Villeneuve had his Renault stuck in the midfield, 17th, but improved slightly to 14th. Klien had a minor spin but kept it going and Zonta moved up one place to seventh. Doornbos was the best of the Jordans in 15th and Villenevue was still on the move, climbing to 11th.
Zonta spun without incident and with ten minutes to go, only the McLarens, Jaguar's Mark Webber and Minardi third driver Bas Leinders had yet to set a time. David Coulthard was first to rectify that, his McLaren flying straight to the top of the times for 1:13.669 -- a man on a mission, trying to secure a race seat for next season.
Heidfeld took over as best Jordan in 16th and Alonso and Massa improved in tandem to fourth and eighth respectively. Webber posted ninth to get on the time sheet and Button improved to seventh. Kimi Raikkonen took the top spot off teammate Coulthard with a 1:13.150, and Davidson demoted the Scot further by taking second.
Michael clocked seventh and Zonta ninth after being shuffled down the order and Trulli outdid them to slot into sixth. Sato went even better for fourth but was demoted by Barrichello doing the same. Ralf was next to the top, 1:12.873, only to be immediately ousted by Montoya's 1:12.547. Ralf went down one more as Briscoe took second, the Toyota just under seven hundredths down on Montoya.
That brief spell of action was the end of the session and Leinders did not set a time. McLaren and Williams looked very nifty, while the rest were six of one and half a dozen of the other -- a close run but unsurprising Friday morning. Final top eight classification: Montoya, Briscoe, R. Schumacher, Raikkonen, Davidson, Coulthard, Trulli, Sato.