Alex Wurz remained at the top of the time sheet for the second practice session of the Brazilian Grand Prix, although not as fast as he was in the first. McLaren's third driver clocked a best of 1:12.083 in the afternoon, just under four tenths...
Alex Wurz remained at the top of the time sheet for the second practice session of the Brazilian Grand Prix, although not as fast as he was in the first. McLaren's third driver clocked a best of 1:12.083 in the afternoon, just under four tenths down on his morning time. Teammate Juan Pablo Montoya was second quickest in the afternoon, six tenths off Wurz, and Toyota third driver Ricardo Zonta was third.
Conditions for the second practice remained much the same as the morning session; fine and dry with a track temperature of around 40 degrees. Wurz was first out on track, followed by Zonta and fellow third driver Red Bull's Tonio Liuzzi. The Minardi of Chrisitjan Albers was next, along with Sauber's Felipe Massa, who did not set a time this morning.
Jordan third driver Nicolas Kiesa also took to the track and Wurz set the first flyer, 1:15.711. Liuzzi, Massa, Zonta, Kiesa and Albers quickly slotted into second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. The Jordans of Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro took seventh and eighth and Liuzzi took over at the top, 1:15.385. The Jordans and Minardis were swapping places rapidly and Massa moved up to second.
Wurz returned to the top, 1:14.928, and the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello arrived in fifth. Liuzzi went ahead of Massa for second then Michael Schumacher put his Ferrari to the top, 1:14.643 for just under three tenths up on Wurz. Antonio Pizzonia's Williams clocked fifth but was demoted by Zonta, who was making his way back up the times. Kimi Raikkonen bumped both of them down a slot when the McLaren took over second.
Raikkonen then went fastest, 1:13.950, nearly seven tenths up on Wurz, who moved into second. Jarno Trulli's Toyota posted fourth but then lost the place to teammate Ralf Schumacher. Montoya made it a temporary McLaren one-two-three with third and Trulli returned to fourth, followed by Michael into fifth. Montoya stayed on the move and took over the top of the times, 1:13.896, five hundredths up.
While all the action was going on at the front, outside the top 10 Williams' Mark Webber was 11th, with Pizzonia one behind. Then came the Sauber of Jacques Villeneuve and Barrichello, then the Jordan/Minardi train led by Monteiro in 17th. Giancarlo Fisichella put his Renault third on his first flyer but was immediately demoted by teammate Fernando Alonso taking the spot.
The BAR's of Jenson Button and Takuma took over ninth and 10th respectively, then Sato moved up to eighth. Alonso improved his time but stayed third, just seven thousandths behind Raikkonen, who in turn was five hundredths off Montoya. Massa was working his way back up the times once again, to 11th, and Michael's Ferrari was next to go fastest, seven tenths up on Montoya with a 1:13.205.
Liuzzi climbed back up the field to sixth and teammate Christian Klien took ninth, and after half an hour of frantic rushing around it quietened down a little. Raikkonen improved to second, three tenths off Michael, and Pizzonia went up to third. Fisichella improved to fourth but was immediately demoted by Alonso and Massa suddenly shot up to go fastest with a 1:12.710, half a second up on Michael.
Webber took seventh and Montoya replied to Massa's effort with a 1:12.694, less than two hundredths up. Barrichello and Michael improved in tandem to third and fourth then Villeneuve appeared from nowhere to take the fourth spot. Was Sauber running light or running on rocket fuel? There was a yellow flag period when Klien hit the barrier at turn seven and damaged the back of the Red Bull, but he appeared unharmed.
Trulli moved up to sixth and Barrichello improved his time but stayed third. Raikkonen took over fourth and Zonta, who had been moved way down, came back up to take the third place. He stayed out for another go and demoted Massa from second by the very narrow margin of four thousandths, and just over one hundredth off Montoya.
In the final moments Wurz hurtled back to the top of the times with a 1:12.083, six tenths up on Montoya. "A positive Friday's practice where we covered a lot of mileage which should be a good basis for qualifying and the race," said Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug. "Alex's long runs provided us with good data in respect of tyre comparison and race set-up."
McLaren has the speed but this session was perhaps a little misleading as far as the rest were concerned. Take the two third drivers out of the picture and Montoya was quickest, followed by Massa and Barrichello. It's hard to believe Massa's car really had the pace of the McLarens and given Ferrari's season, nor Barrichello's either.
"This is certainly not an easy track on which to find a suitable set-up because of the compromises it demands," said Sauber team principal Peter Sauber. "We tested both qualifying and race set-ups, with different fuel levels. Most of all it will not be easy to make the tyre choice."
Quite a few drivers mentioned the dusty track conditions. " As usual here the asphalt was very dirty in the morning, so the grip level was very low," said Zonta. "That meant that it was impossible to push hard and very difficult to draw any conclusions with tyres. It improved in the afternoon so we have some data to work with."
It was nice for the home crowds to have three Brazilians -- Zonta, Massa and Barrichello -- in the top five and Sauber did a reasonable job to have both cars in the top seven. Ferrari had both in the top eight, Barrichello and Michael about four tenths off Montoya and over a second off Wurz.
"No major problems over the two hours of free practice," said Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn. "The car was a bit difficult to drive over the bumps to begin with, but the engineers came up with some good changes to deal with that. In general terms, the car is not bad."
The Renaults were on the edge of the top ten but it's deceptive as both Alonso and Fisichella were certainly on the pace in the morning. Generally it was a normal Friday; we'll have to wait for tomorrow to get a clearer picture. Final top eight classification: Wurz, Montoya, Zonta, Massa, Barrichello, Raikkonen, Villeneuve, M. Schumacher.