Schumacher fastest after Monaco GP Thursday

Schumacher fastest after Monaco GP Thursday

Fastest man in the first session, Michael Schumacher held the top of the times in Thursday's second practice for the Monaco Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver's best was 1:14.741, the only man in the 1:14 bracket, but again it was a changeable session...

Fastest man in the first session, Michael Schumacher held the top of the times in Thursday's second practice for the Monaco Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver's best was 1:14.741, the only man in the 1:14 bracket, but again it was a changeable session at the top of the times. BAR third driver Anthony Davidson was second quickest and Rubens Barrichello was third.

Michael Schumacher.
Photo by Bridgestone Corporation.

Air temperature remained about the same as the first practice and the track temperature climbed to around 32 degrees. Ralf Schumacher had an engine change after problems in the earlier session and the Williams was quickly out on track. Davidson set the first fastest time, 1:17.981, and Ralf just under a tenth behind. Jenson Button's BAR slotted into third, followed by the two Toyota race drivers.

Michael was next to the top, clocking 1:16.979 but was immediately displaced by Davidson's 1:16.861. Barrichello took fourth fastest and both Saubers were in the top ten in the early stages. There was some rapid reshuffling of the order but Davidson remained at the top followed by Michael and Ralf.

Kimi Raikkonen put his McLaren seventh on his first flyer and Renault's Fernando Alonso posted fourth on his. Raikkonen's teammate David Coulthard took the seventh slot and Kimi retaliated by improving to third, only to have Coulthard snatch it off him. Not settling for that, the Finn retook the position on his next lap, the teammates have a little battle of their own.

Raikkonen then went even better to take the top of the times, 1:16.635, two tenths up on Davidson. The second Renault of Jarno Trulli moved up to fifth fastest, which was a warm up to taking the top slot, 1:16.494. Giancarlo Fisichella put the Sauber third and teammate Felipe Massa was 11th. Michael took second on his next flier and Barrichello went one better for the top, 1:16.395, just 0.099 up on Trulli.

The Toyotas slipped further down the field with the Jordans and Jaguar's Christian Klien. Mark Webber missed the second session after his engine fire in the first. It was caused by an oil leak and the team is hoping a change of engine won't be necessary. Jaguar's third driver Bj?rn Wirdheim got out for a couple of laps after his problems in the morning session but clipped the barriers and didn't set a time.

Raikkonen returned to the top with a 1:16.165 but was demoted by Alonso almost straight away. 1:15.701 for the Spaniard, the first into the 1:15 bracket and nearly half a second up on the McLaren. Klien made it an unfortunate hat trick for Jaguar, hitting the barrier in the first sector after an electrical problem caused the engine and hydraulics to shut down. Button was next to take up the challenge, 1:15.520 for the top spot and Trulli moved into third behind Alonso.

Juan Pablo Montoya moved up to fourth and Michael, who had been shuffled down the order, improved to fifth, with Barrichello just behind. Davidson and Takuma Sato were eighth and ninth and Fisichella rounded off the top ten. Coulthard then took sixth, bumping the others from Barrichello down a place each.

Davidson wound up for a fast lap and deposed teammate Button with a 1:15.314 and Ricardo Zonta shot up to third -- the Toyota race drivers were outside the top ten, as was Ralf's Williams. Michael picked up the pace, posting 1:14.741 at the top of the times, half a second up on Davidson, and Barrichello improved to third. Trulli took fourth and Sato sixth, while Davidson bettered his time but was four tenths off Schumacher. Raikkonen clocked fifth fastest in the closing stages.

The top nine were within a second this time around and while the Renaults and BARs looked strong, Williams fell off the pace by the end of the session. McLaren appeared to be competitive although Coulthard slipped outside the top ten at the end. The tyre picture was nothing unusual, the Ferraris the only Bridgestone runners in the top ten, Fisichella the next best in 14th. Final top eight classification: M. Schumacher, Davidson, Barrichello, Trulli, Raikkonen, Button, Sato, Zonta.

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