Wet start to Brazilian GP weekend

Wet start to Brazilian GP weekend

It was unpredictable start to the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend as the Interlagos track was declared wet for Friday's first practice. The top teams didn't do more than installation laps until the final 15 minutes when Ferrari's Felipe Massa...

It was unpredictable start to the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend as the Interlagos track was declared wet for Friday's first practice. The top teams didn't do more than installation laps until the final 15 minutes when Ferrari's Felipe Massa ventured out to check the conditions. The Brazilian clocked fifth, third and then fastest on consecutive laps, ousting Toyota's Ralf Schumacher from the top.

Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari.
Photo by xpb.cc.

However, Kimi Raikkonen followed on Massa's heels and after a couple of warm up efforts he replaced his teammate with a last minute 1:19.580 for the best time of the session. Massa kept it as a Ferrari one-two at the top, half a second down on Raikkonen and he was the only one within a second of the Finn. Four drivers did not go out for timed laps.

Renault's Heikki Kovalainen was third fastest, two and a half tenths over the one-second gap to Raikkonen, but teammate Giancarlo Fisichella was one of the four without a time. The Williams of Nico Rosberg was fourth, a couple of tenths behind Kovalainen, while Kazuki Nakajima was 16th. Nakajima is no stranger to Friday work for Williams but today he's preparing for his race debut.

"I'm obviously feeling really excited about my first Formula One race," said the Japanese, who replaces the now-retired Alex Wurz. "I've never driven at Interlagos before, so I've been doing lots of preparation work in the team's simulator at Grove. I've also ramped up my training in the gym to help me cope with the pressures on my neck because it's an anti-clockwise track."

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton made his first track foray shortly before Massa but spent half a dozen laps pottering around near the back before stepping up his pace. Near the end of the session his best lap put him fifth, a second and a half off Raikkonen. After sampling the conditions briefly early on, Fernando Alonso did not do a timed lap.

Schumacher spent some time at the top of the list in the difficult conditions but was eventually knocked down to sixth. Toyota teammate Jarno Trulli also made the top 10 in ninth. Both Toro Rossos did likewise, Sebastian Vettel seventh and Tonio Liuzzi 10th, but the pair were over two second down on the lead Ferrari, albeit Vettel only just.

Mark Webber was the sole Red Bull representative in the top half of the field with eighth and David Coulthard was 13th. The Hondas just missed out, Rubens Barrichello 11th and Jenson Button 12th, although Barrichello did have a brief spell at the top earlier on. The Super Aguris of Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson were 14th and 17th respectively.

Spyker's Adrian Sutil clocked the fastest time twice in the opening stages but had more than one off-track incident as well, although nothing serious. He finished 15th and teammate Sakon Yamamoto rounded off the list of those who had set a time in 18th. The BMW Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica only did installation laps.

Due to the conditions and the limited running of the top teams it was not a very representative morning in regard to the performance of the championship rivals. More rain is predicted so we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Final top eight classification: Raikkonen, Massa, Kovalainen, Rosberg, Hamilton, Schumacher, Vettel, Webber.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Anthony Davidson , Fernando Alonso , Alexander Wurz , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Robert Kubica , Sebastian Vettel , Sakon Yamamoto , Kazuki Nakajima , Adrian Sutil
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams