Kimi Raikkonen was at the top of the times in the last practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix, the McLaren man clocking a best of 1:26.120. BAR's Jenson Button and Renault's Fernando Alonso were not far behind in second and third...
Kimi Raikkonen was at the top of the times in the last practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix, the McLaren man clocking a best of 1:26.120. BAR's Jenson Button and Renault's Fernando Alonso were not far behind in second and third respectively, and Raikkonen's teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who was fastest in the first practice, was fourth.
Conditions were fair, with the air temperature in the mid twenties and the track around 30 degrees as Jordan's Tiago Monteiro started the proceedings. Minardi's Robert Doornbos followed on, along with the second Jordan of Narain Karthikeyan and those three were the only movers initially. After five minutes the Minardi of Christijan Albers and the McLaren of Raikkonen appeared for their installation laps.
Montoya was next out but he too only did an installation lap before the McLaren returned to the pits. The Saubers of Jacques Villeneuve and Felipe Massa were next on track, followed by Michael Schumacher's Ferrari and the German was the first to set a time, 1:32.249, which he then lowered to 1:31.577.
Doornbos slotted in behind, just under three seconds off, and Albers took third, and Michael improved his time again to 1:30.094 to leave Doornbos over four seconds adrift. The Minardi man put in an effort to close the gap to 2.4 and Michael responded with a 1:29.642 to put another few tenths between them.
Ralf Schumacher's Toyota took over the second spot, the gap to the Ferrari six and a half tenths, then he went to the top, 1:28.993 for about the same advantage over Michael as he previously was behind him. Alonso's Renault demoted Ralf with a time of 1:27.819, over a second up.
Alonso's teammate Giancarlo Fisichella clocked fourth then was dropped down a place by the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello. Fisichella retaliated by moving up to second, just under nine tenths off Alonso. Monteiro made it eight on the time sheet when he took sixth ahead of the Minardis. With 10 minutes to go only Fisichella was within a second of Alonso.
Christian Klien was the first Red Bull out for eighth, and then climbed to fourth, and Raikkonen took second on his first flyer, half a second down on Alonso. Nick Heidfeld's Williams arrived in seventh and David Coulthard's Red Bull in 10th, then Mark Webber went one better than teammate Heidfeld for sixth.
Coulthard improved to seventh and Klien was doing a good job, up to third, a second down on Alonso. Jarno Trulli put his Toyota fifth and Takuma Sato's BAR started with 14th. Massa clocked ninth on his first timed effort and Heidfeld improved to third, just fractionally ahead of Klien. Raikkonen took over at the top, 1:27.523 for three tenths up on Alonso.
Button's BAR posted third and Webber improved to fourth. Raikkonen lowered his time to 1:27.134 and Coulthard moved into third, with Trulli following into fourth. Montoya was lapping at the back of the field, as was Villeneuve until he woke up and climbed to 11th. Heidfeld moved back to third and Montoya suddenly shot up to second, six tenths off Raikkonen.
Sato improved to sixth and Button took the second place off Montoya, the gap to Raikkonen two tenths. He then went to the top, 1:27.031, and Alonso took second, less than a tenth down. Sato moved up to fourth, with the Williams pair just behind, and Montoya took the top of the times right at the end, 1:26.857. Button stayed second and Alonso was third.
At the start of the second session the track temperature was up to the high thirties and Klien was at the top of the times early on with a 1:28.835. Montoya, Ralf and Fisichella all scrolled through in rapid succession, then Raikkonen ended up on top, 1:26.978. Alonso took second, four tenths down on the McLaren.
Montoya then went to the top, 1:26.748 for two tenths up on Raikkonen, and Heidfeld moved into sixth. Fisichella climbed back up to third and Webber arrived in fifth, then Button demoted him. Jenson improved again to third and Coulthard posted eighth, one ahead of teammate Klien.
The Ferraris were lapping outside the top ten along with the Toyotas and Karthikeyan, who did not set a time in the first session, managed to get out on track. Sato climbed the ranks to fifth and the top eight were separated by a second at the halfway mark. Alonso went back up to sixth after being shuffled down the times.
Ralf followed into seventh and Button took over at the top, 1:26.599 for a tenth and a half up on Montoya. Massa, who had been lurking near the back, went up to 10th but there was not a great deal of activity in the session. Michael made a slight improvement in 14th, one ahead of Barrichello; Ferrari doesn't look too happy at this circuit.
Webber improved to seventh after being moved down and at the back it was Monteiro in front of the Minardis, but Karthikeyan had still to set a time despite putting in a couple of laps. Raikkonen returned to the top with 1:26.286, three tenths up on Button, then lowered his time to 1:26.120 to widen the gap a little further.
Alonso went up to third and that was the end of the session. McLaren did not look quite so dominant this morning, with Renault and BAR snapping at its heels, although one would have to say Raikkonen is a good chance for pole -- Montoya could do it but he's out early in qualifying due to his retirement in Hungary. However, Button and Alonso also look quite handy.
Overall, Williams seems more competitive while Toyota and Red Bull were not far behind. Massa was reasonably on the top ten pace but Ferrari appeared to struggle, and Karthikeyan still did not set a time. It should be an interesting qualifying session. Final top eight classification: Raikkonen, Button, Alonso, Montoya, Fisichella, Sato, Webber, R. Schumacher.