MONTOYA FASTEST IN FRIDAY PRACTICE; AMERICAN SPEED IMPRESSIVE INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, June 17, 2005 -- West McLaren Mercedes' Juan Pablo Montoya led both free practice sessions June 17 as Formula One teams began preparations for qualifying and...
MONTOYA FASTEST IN FRIDAY PRACTICE; AMERICAN SPEED IMPRESSIVE
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, June 17, 2005 -- West McLaren Mercedes' Juan Pablo Montoya led both free practice sessions June 17 as Formula One teams began preparations for qualifying and the race at the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Montoya lapped the 13-turn, 2.605-mile road circuit in 1 minute, 11.118 seconds, 131.860 mph during the second session -- the top lap of the day. He also recorded the fastest lap of the first session, 1:12.027, 130.196.
"It just means that we're doing the right job, but what counts is on Sunday," Montoya said. "All this work, you just focus on what you're going to be doing on Sunday. And at the moment, things are looking pretty good. Both practices I was fastest today. It's encouraging. I think things are coming together."
Qualifying starts at 2 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The 73-lap race starts at 2 p.m. (EDT) Sunday.
Montoya's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, recorded the second-quickest lap, 1:11.228, 131.657. 2002 USGP winner Rubens Barrichello was third at 1:11.746, 130.707 in a Scuderia Marlboro Ferrari, and three-time USGP winner Michael Schumacher was fourth at 1:11.758, 130.684 in a Ferrari. Williams-BMW driver Nick Heidfeld rounded out the top five at 1:11.825, 130.562.
American Scott Speed, participating as Red Bull Racing's third driver, recorded the eighth-best lap of the day at 1:12.143, 129.987 and completed a total of 55 laps.
Speed, who drives full-time in the European GP2 series -- the premier development series for Formula One, became the first American since 1989 to participate in a United States Grand Prix.
"(I am) very happy," said Speed, 22, who is considered the top American prospect for a Formula One drive. "It was another successful run in the F1 car. All the experience I get right now is so valuable. Every lap that I am doing in the car I feel more comfortable and more confident.
"I think that it is all good for me. I am gaining a lot of F1 experience to where when it comes time that I do have to qualify and race and there's a lot more pressure, I will be able to perform better."
Drivers struggled for grip throughout the day as several cars slid off track during both sessions. The most serious incident of the day occurred early in the second session when Ralf Schumacher's Panasonic Toyota did 1½ spins in Turn 13 and hit the SAFER Barrier in the outside of the turn with the rear of the car and left side of the car. Schumacher was uninjured in the accident.
The accident, which forced FIA officials to red flag practice for 21 minutes, was in close proximity to where Schumacher hit the Speedway's outside concrete retaining wall during the 2004 USGP.
Tickets: Tickets for the United States Grand Prix can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.