As usual it was the third McLaren at the top of the time sheet in Friday's first practice session for the German Grand Prix, but this time it was Alex Wurz instead of Pedro de la Rosa. Wurz clocked a best time of 1:14.277, six tenths up on Toyota...
As usual it was the third McLaren at the top of the time sheet in Friday's first practice session for the German Grand Prix, but this time it was Alex Wurz instead of Pedro de la Rosa. Wurz clocked a best time of 1:14.277, six tenths up on Toyota third driver Ricardo Zonta in second, and the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest.
Nicolas Kiesa is in the third Jordan this weekend, replacing Robert Doornbos, who has taken Patrick Friesacher's race seat at Minardi. In cooler than expected conditions, Kiesa was quickly out on track for an installation lap, along with fellow third drivers Wurz, Zonta and Red Bull's Tonio Liuzzi.
Zonta was the first to set a time, a leisurely 1:24.730, and Wurz quickly took over with a 1:19.122. Zonta improved to eight tenths off but then Wurz dropped his time to 1:17.376, leaving the Toyota well over two seconds adrift. The pair continued to lap in formation, Zonta closing in on the McLaren but Wurz improved again to 1:17.199.
Kiesa made it three on the time sheet, over eight seconds off the pace to start with, and then Liuzzi took the place but he was over four seconds down. He closed the gap to Wurz to 3.4 seconds on his next flyer and Kiesa bought his time down to about six seconds astray. Jordan's Narain Karthikeyan joined in fifth, one behind Kiesa.
Doornbos made his Minardi debut on the time sheet in sixth and Liuzzi improved his time to two seconds off Wurz. Karthikeyan and Kiesa traded places a couple of times, while Liuzzi closed the gap to the lead McLaren to 1.2 to take second quickest. Michael Schumacher's Ferrari appeared in third and the Minardi of Christijan Albers in fifth.
The second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello took fifth off Albers and Kiesa improved to sixth. Michael went up to second, eight tenths off Wurz, and Albers demoted Kiesa from sixth. Barrichello slotted in behind his teammate for third but was quickly ousted by Zonta, while Michael closed the gap to Wurz to just over four tenths.
Zonta returned to second fastest, three and a half tenths between his Toyota and Wurz, and Liuzzi took fourth. Zonta was still lapping and his next effort saw him take the top spot, 1:17.096, a tenth up on Wurz, and a further effort clocked 1:16.657 to leave the McLaren half a second down. After 30 minutes only the Williams pair had not put in installation laps.
Tiago Monteiro's Jordan made it 10 on the time sheet, Kiesa in eighth leading the trio of yellow cars, with the Minardis just in front. Wurz demoted Zonta from the top with a 1:16.631, just three hundredths up, and Monteiro split the two Minardis to take seventh. Wurz improved again to 1:15.859 and widened the gap to Zonta to eight tenths.
Monteiro moved up to sixth but was immediately demoted by the Williams of Mark Webber. Teammate Nick Heidfeld appeared in eighth and Raikkonen's McLaren took second on his first effort. Jarno Trulli was the first Toyota race driver on the time sheet, seventh, and Takuma Sato the first BAR, fifth.
Raikkonen improved to three tenths off Wurz and David Coulthard's Red Bull took 12th on his first flyer. Webber climbed to fifth but Michael took the position off him after being shuffled down the order. Jenson Button's BAR arrived in sixth and Zonta demoted Wurz from the top with a 1:15.518, three tenths up.
Ralf Schumacher's Toyota posted 13th and McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya clocked fourth on his first effort. Trulli moved back up the order to seventh, and Liuzzi likewise to eighth, and further down the field Albers took the lead of the Minardi/Jordan group in 15th. Christian Klien's Red Bull started slow then jumped up the field to ninth.
Sato improved to fourth after a slight drop down the field and Felipe Massa was the first Sauber to appear on the time sheet, 15th. Button went back up to sixth and Massa climbed to 10th, while Wurz set fastest sectors across the board to clock 1:14.496, just over a second up on Zonta. Massa was still lapping busily and gained a place to ninth.
Wurz again stormed round with fastest sectors all through the lap for 1:14.277, and at the other end of the times Karthikeyan took the lead of the backmarker group in 16th. Michael improved to fourth and Barrichello to fifth, while Zonta closed the gap to Wurz to six tenths. Monteiro took over from Karthikeyan in 16th and Liuzzi climbed to sixth.
Button moved up to third and Heidfeld, who had been loitering at the back, made an effort for 13th. With five minutes to go Jacques Villeneuve's Sauber finally appeared, 19th, and Karthikeyan and Monteiro swapped places again. Raikkonen took the third slot but was still over a second off teammate Wurz.
Villeneuve improved to 17th and Coulthard to 10th, then Montoya moved back up to fifth after being dropped down the order. Ralf was a late climber to 10th, and Klien to 13th, but that was the end of the session. The Renault drivers did not set times so we can't see how they are matching up to the McLarens, which so far are looking very good.
Only Zonta was within a second of Wurz, but if we take the two third drivers out of the equation, Raikkonen, Button and Montoya's times were fairly close and the two Ferraris not far behind. Final top eight classification: Wurz, Zonta, Raikkonen, Button, Montoya, M. Schumacher, Barrichello, Liuzzi.