Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in the second Friday practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix and clocked the fastest time of the day, 1:44.701. The McLaren was four tenths quicker than BAR's Anthony Davidson in the morning session. Jenson Button...
Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in the second Friday practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix and clocked the fastest time of the day, 1:44.701. The McLaren was four tenths quicker than BAR's Anthony Davidson in the morning session. Jenson Button was second quickest for BAR in the afternoon and Michael Schumacher's Ferrari was third. Toyota third driver Ryan Briscoe had a big crash at Eau Rouge but was unharmed.
The conditions had improved slightly since the morning session but it was still fairly cool, with track temperature in the low to mid twenties. Giancarlo Fisichella was first on the time sheet, 1:48.379 for the Sauber, and Briscoe quickly took over with 1:47.634.
The early activity saw the second Sauber of Felipe Massa third fastest, Jaguar third driver Bj?rn Wirdheim fourth, Toyota's Ricardo Zonta fifth and teammate Olivier Panis making up the top six. Fernando Alonso put his Renault third and teammate Jarno Trulli took sixth, then Massa took over the top with a 1:47.614, just two thousandths up on Briscoe.
Zonta improved his time to regain the fifth spot but Juan Pablo Montoya snatched it off him in the Williams. The three Jordans were out on track, as was the trio of Minardis, and Trulli was next improvement, up to fourth. Raikkonen put his McLaren to the top on his first flyer, 1:47.245, three tenths up on Massa.
BAR third driver Davidson demoted Raikkonen with a 1:46.079, over a second quicker. Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari posted eighth on his first effort, then improved to fifth, while Takuma Sato took seventh in the BAR. After the first 15 minute foray it was a quartet of youngsters at the top; Davidson, Raikkonen, Massa and Briscoe.
Schumacher posted sixth on his first flyer but then Briscoe's day ended with the crash at Eau Rouge. The Australian's Toyota hit the wall on the right hand side coming into the corner, then spun across and hit the opposite barrier. Briscoe got out of the wreckage safely and appeared unharmed, although he was taken to hospital for precautionary checks. Toyota confirmed that a puncture cause the crash.
The session was red flagged while the car was recovered and the practice restarted approximately eight minutes later. Wirdheim was first to make a move and climbed to seventh on the time sheet. Jordan third driver Timo Glock improved to 15th, Fisichella to second and Williams' Antonio Pizzonia slotted into third. Fisichella was nearly six tenths off Davidson's pace.
Trulli moved up to fourth and Button managed to dislodge teammate Davidson with a 1:46.000, swiftly followed by Alonso into second fastest, just five hundredths down. The BARs were flying, with Takuma Sato next to the top, 1:45.451, giving the team three of the top four slots half way through.
Massa improved to fifth after moving down the order, one ahead of teammate Fisichella, and Montoya was the next man on the move. The Colombian set the fastest first and last sectors but lost out in the middle, to post three tenths off Sato for second fastest.
David Coulthard put his McLaren second quickest and teammate Raikkonen went one better for the top of the times, 1:44.701 and seven tenths up on Sato. The Finn was four tenths faster than Davidson's best in the earlier practice.
Mark Webber put his Jaguar 12th, ahead of teammates Wirdheim and Klien, and Schumacher, who had been pottering about in the midfield, improved to third quickest, only fractionally behind Sato. The German had a minor spin shortly afterwards but promplty corrected it.
Davidson renewed his efforts to take second, on a par with Sato and Schumacher's seven tenth deficit to Raikkonen. Button was next to take the position, closing the gap to Kimi's McLaren to three tenths. Massa moved up to ninth, the Brazilian bouncing up and down the times in the reshuffles, and Barrichello improved to sixth.
Alonso took seventh fastest after being similarly demoted in the changing order, then there was a lull in activity. Fisichella and Klien improved to 10th and 16th respectively and Pizzonia made his way up to sixth. Sato had a bit of a wobble at Eau Rouge but kept it together. Coulthard took sixth from Pizzonia and Schumacher reclaimed the third spot as the end of the session approached.
Minardi's Zsolt Baumgartner put in a good effort for 20th, ahead of all three Jordans. Webber improved to 13th but Jaguar was lacking its pace of the morning. Panis took 14th but Toyota didn't make much of an impression either, except Briscoe's impression on the barriers at Eau Rouge, which was not the best way to get noticed.
Montoya worked his way back to tenth fastest after being shuffled down the times, and Massa to 11th, a couple of tenths behind. There was no change at the top as the session came to a close, Raikkonen leading Button and Schumacher. It was fairly close, the top ten separated by a second and the top three by just over four tenths.
As usual, there's not a great deal to be deduced from the Friday times, what with set up work and tyre evaluations being the priorities of the day. Ferrari, of course, looked in shape, as did McLaren, BAR and Renault, with Williams in the mix -- the top five teams made the running as one would expect.
Sauber was the best of the rest, Massa and Fisichella just a couple of tenths outside the top ten. Jaguar seemed lacklustre after its earlier efforts but the morning session showed a reasonable amount of pace from the three drivers. Toyota put in some solid times but was not exactly inspiring, while Baumgartner held onto his spot as lead Minardi ahead of the Jordans.
The times did edge closer to Schumacher's 1:43 pole time from 2002 but the expected leap in speed did not materialise. However, with the cool conditions that's not really a big surprise. The Ferraris were the only Bridgestone top ten runners, so no surprise there either. Final top eight classification: Raikkonen, Button, Schumacher, Davidson, Sato Coulthard, Pizzonia, Barrichello.