Friday, 25 April 2008

Spanish Grand Prix: Friday Practice Sessions

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen dominated proceedings on the first day's practice at the Spanish Grand Prix by recording the fastest time in both sessions. It was an impressive show from the World Champion and current championship leader as he really highlighted Ferrari's superior pace, finishing with a fastest time of the day that was over half a second quicker than the nearest non-Ferrari car.

Friday's first session was run under glorious Catalunyan sunshine in Montmelo, and the sun was shining most brightly on the Ferrari team as they blitzed the time sheets. Kimi and Massa were separated by just a fraction of a second, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton a distant third. It wasn't all plain sailing for Ferrari however, as Felipe Massa managed to spin out on the final chicane on his first flying lap, and then again lost it in turn 8. Not the perfect start to the weekend then for the hero of Bahrain.

McLaren looked decent in third and fifth place, but will no doubt be demoralised somewhat by Ferrari's dominance. Robert Kubica showed that BMW still have some decent place by splitting the McLarens, with Heidfeld down in ninth.

The team that seemed to have made the biggest step forward over the past few weeks is Renault. Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet finished sixth and seventh respectively, amarked improvement on their recent showings. Whether that will translate into good quali and race pace remains to be seen, they may just be gunning for a few practice day headlines in front of Fernando's home crowd.

Elsewhere there weren't too many surprises or thrills and spills. Jarno Trulli spun under braking for turn 10 but that was the only hairy moment of the session aside from Massa's misadventures. The midfield bunch looks as close and tightly packed as ever, making it really quite difficult to say who has got the advantage amongst the Red Bulls, Williams, Toyotas, Hondas etc. Super Aguri were unsurprisingly woefully short of pace, but frankly they will be glad just to have been able to get a few laps under their belts no matter how slow.

Practice One Times

01 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:20.649 17 laps
02 F. Massa Ferrari 1:20.699 9 laps
03 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:21.192 20 laps
04 R. Kubica BMW 1:21.568 20 laps
05 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:21.758 10 laps
06 F. Alonso Renault 1:21.933 18 laps
07 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:21.936 21 laps
08 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:22.118 20 laps
09 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:22.278 24 laps
10 J. Button Honda 1:22.632 16 laps
11 T. Glock Toyota 1:23.002 21 laps
12 N. Rosberg Williams 1:23.003 25 laps
13 M. Webber Red Bull 1:23.015 14 laps
14 J. Trulli Toyota 1:23.141 15 laps
15 K. Nakajima Williams 1:23.153 24 laps
16 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:23.156 22 laps
17 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:23.196 20 laps
18 R. Barrichello Honda 1:23.353 14 laps
19 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:23.952 15 laps
20 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:24.082 15 laps
21 T. Sato Super Aguri 1:24.278 14 laps
22 A. Davidson Super Aguri 1:25.068 10 laps

The second practice session again ended with Kimi Raikkonen topping the timesheets, although this time there were a few surprises as to who was filling up the space behind him. The Renaults continued their impressive showing by taking second and third; Piquet this time edging out his more experienced teammate by a hair's breadth. Kazuki Nakajima took a very unexpected fourth place in the session, beating Ferrari's Felipe Massa into fifth.

The McLarens and BMWs were way down in middle of the field, no doubt working on their long run setups. Indeed, it seems that most teams were trying out their long runs as all of the times in the session were a fair bit slower than in session one. AS such it makes it very difficult to judge who has the pace and who doesn't in that midfield area. The only things we can really know for sure are that the Ferraris are definitely ahead at the front of the pack, and the Super Aguris are definitely miles behind at the back of the grid. Everything else is a lot harder to call thus far...

Practice Two Times
01 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:21.935 38 laps
02 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:22.019 38 laps
03 F. Alonso Renault 1:22.032 26 laps
04 K. Nakajima Williams 1:22.172 35 laps
05 F. Massa Ferrari 1:22.229 32 laps
06 M. Webber Red Bull 1:22.238 36 laps
07 N. Rosberg Williams 1:22.266 33 laps
08 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:22.289 30 laps
09 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:22.383 38 laps
10 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:22.548 38 laps
11 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:22.685 33 laps
12 R. Kubica BMW 1:22.788 38 laps
13 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:23.130 40 laps
14 J. Trulli Toyota 1:23.224 34 laps
15 J. Button Honda 1:23.263 34 laps
16 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:23.264 8 laps
17 R. Barrichello Honda 1:23.415 31 laps
18 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:23.661 35 laps
19 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:23.684 37 laps
20 T. Glock Toyota 1:23.883 40 laps
21 T. Sato Super Aguri 1:25.110 30 laps
22 A. Davidson Super Aguri 1:25.163 31 laps

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