Renault flies in Canadian GP Saturday practices

Renault flies in Canadian GP Saturday practices

Renault set an absolutely scorching pace in the second Saturday practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix, Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso the only two drivers in the 1:12 bracket. The fastest times of the weekend fell to the pair, Trulli's...

Renault set an absolutely scorching pace in the second Saturday practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix, Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso the only two drivers in the 1:12 bracket. The fastest times of the weekend fell to the pair, Trulli's best of 1:12.629 just under three tenths better than Alonso. Jenson Button's third quickest time was not too far off, four tenths down on Trulli.

Jarno Trulli.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.

For the first session the conditions were cool, with track and air temperatures below 20 degrees as Jordan's Timo Glock led the field out for installation laps. Glock, the team's third driver, has replaced Giorgio Pantano for the remainder of the weekend, as Pantano struggles to sort out financial problems. Sunday will be Glock's first F1 race.

Michael Schumacher was first to put a time up, 1:17.629 for the Ferrari, with teammate Rubens Barrichello taking second. Minardi's Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt Baumgartner completed the initial quartet on the time sheet. Next to join the action were Sauber's Felipe Massa, third quickest, along with Glock and teammate Nick Heidfeld, fourth and fifth.

Massa improved to second, six tenths down on Michael, then Barrichello took over at the top, 1:14.856. Ralf Schumacher slotted his Williams into fifth fastest and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya went second, just under half a second off Barrichello. Toyota's Cristiano da Matta took sixth and Alonso shot to the top on his first flyer, 1:14.438 for the Renault.

Michael improved his time but stayed third and Alonso's teammate Trulli took second, half a second down on Fernando. Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella went fifth fastest, teammate Massa dropping down as the order changed. Olivier Panis made it two Toyotas in the top ten and Jenson Button was the first BAR out, a tenth behind Alonso for second.

Montoya improved to sixth after being shuffled down the order, and Ralf to eighth, and Massa returned to the top ten. Christian Klien was the first Jaguar to clock a time, 11th, while Ralf improved another slot to seventh. David Coulthard started McLaren's day with fifth quickest and the second Jaguar of Mark Webber slotted into 13th.

Kimi Raikkonen put in a late appearance to take the fifth slot and Barrichello improved to third. In the final seconds Michael demoted Alonso from the top with a 1:13.865, just eight hundredths up. The top three at the close of the first 45 minute session were Michael, Alonso and Button. BAR's Takuma Sato did not set a time.

Webber started proceedings in the second session with a 1:16.529 and was followed by teammate Klien's 1:15.176. Glock set the third fastest time but Da Matta promptly took the position off him. Fisichella moved into second, just under six tenths down on Klien and Coulthard was next to the top, 1:14.766. The McLaren was quickly replaced by Button's 1:14.675, as Alonso slotted into third and Raikkonen fourth.

Alonso then went to the top, 1:14.427, nearly two tenths up, and teammate Trulli took fourth fastest. Ralf made eighth and Michael 12th on their first forays, then Michael wound up to 1:13.581 -- eight tenths up on Alonso and the fastest time of the weekend so far. Just for good measure he improved it to 1:13.420.

Montoya posted 11th on his first flyer, as Ralf moved up to seventh, then the Colombian bettered his time to ninth. Panis clocked 12th for his first effort, da Matta one ahead, and Montoya crept up a further place to eighth. Alonso set about having a crack at Michael's best and did a good job if it -- 1:12.901 for the Spaniard, the fastest time yet and six tenths up. Not to be outdone, Trulli then bettered his teammate by six hundredths to take the top, 1:12.833.

Barrichello left it to the last few minutes before he ventured out, as did Sato. The Ferrari clocked 12th and the BAR fifth, then Barrichello had another go and took the fifth slot from Sato. The Japanese retaliated by taking it straight back again! Button moved up to third at the end and Sato settled for fourth. Montoya took fifth in the final seconds, the best the Williams has looked all weekend. Trulli improved yet again to 1:12.629.

The pace of the Renaults was scorching in the final session but can they carry it through to qualifying? It's never safe to judge Ferrari on its practice times, so Michael and Barrichello will surely be at the sharp end of the grid. McLaren was also on it, Raikkonen and Coulthard's positions reminding us that the Woking squad is still fighting.

The BARs were also looking good but Williams appeared to struggle, as it did on Friday, despite Montoya's last effort. Really there's no clear cut expectations for this afternoon's qualifying. Final top eight classification: Trulli, Alonso, Button, Sato, Montoya, M. Schumacher, Raikkonen, Coulthard.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan