Renault's Jarno Trulli set the best time in the first practice for the US Grand Prix, in a session hampered by rain. Trulli's best was a 1:11.153 ahead of Ralf Schumacher, the Williams just under two tenths behind. Toyota's Olivier Panis completed...
Renault's Jarno Trulli set the best time in the first practice for the US Grand Prix, in a session hampered by rain. Trulli's best was a 1:11.153 ahead of Ralf Schumacher, the Williams just under two tenths behind. Toyota's Olivier Panis completed the top three and the pair of Ferraris, led by Rubens Barrichello, were fourth and fifth. The practice was red-flagged half way through when the Jordan of Giancarlo Fisichella suffered an engine failure.Ferrari was replaced by the McLaren of David Coulthard. Michael and the second McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen made up the top four initially.
Mark Webber, who had a minor off in private testing, joined the leaders, putting his Jaguar second, just four hundredths behind Ralf, then Barrichello took over the slot, the Ferrari narrowing the gap to Ralf's lead time to two hundredths. Minardi's Nicolas Kiesa, who also had a small off-track excursion in testing, made the top ten early on, as did the pair of Jordans.
Fernando Alonso removed Ralf from the top spot on his first fast lap, a 1:11.712 for the Renault driver, just four thousandths ahead. By fifteen minutes gone, 18 cars had been out on track and things quieted down. Ralf chipped a hundredth off Alonso to return to the top of the times but Juan Pablo Montoya completed four laps without setting a competitive time. He finally moved up to fifth, just over a tenth off Ralf.
Michael was next up, a 1:11.656 to take over from Ralf by four hundredths. Outside the top ten, Fisichella and Cristiano da Matta hovered around, the pair of Saubers and BARs further down the field. There was very little activity midway through the session when rain started to fall. Despite the initial action, most drivers had only set less than ten laps.
Fisichella's engine gave up at turn 13 and the session was red-flagged while the Jordan was taken back to the pits and the track was cleaned of oil. The activity resumed with Trulli, who was fastest in the morning testing, setting a fastest of 1:11.153, just under two tenths quicker than Ralf, who beat Panis to second. The Ferrari duo, led by Barrichello, followed on behind the Frenchman.
Further down the field, Jenson Button was the lead BAR in twelfth and the second Jaguar of Justin Wilson thirteenth. The Saubers squabbled with the Minardis at the back and while there were some personal time improvements, the order didn't change for as the rain got heavier. Jos Verstappen, who came to a halt at the pit exit in the test session, was over seven seconds off the pace at the back.
An erratic session due to the red-flag period and the rain, so difficult to tell who's on form. The rain did ease toward the end but there was little running in the wet conditions. Toyota tends to show well on a Friday, so Panis in third was no big surprise. The McLarens were somewhat down the order, ninth and tenth respectively for Raikkonen and Coulthard, and Renault made its usual top ten showing. Final top eight classification: Trulli, R. Schumacher, Panis, Barrichello, M. Schumacher, Alonso, Webber, Montoya.