Ferrari dominate first practice - France
|By Pablo Elizalde||Friday, June 29th 2007, 09:33 GMT|
The Ferrari team seemed to be back on form after a dominant display in the opening practice session for the French Grand Prix.
Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who has struggled for pace in recent races, topped the timesheets with a best lap of 1:15.382, beating teammate Felipe Massa by 0.065 seconds as the Italian squad were the only ones to lap the Magny-Cours circuit in less than 76 seconds.
World champion Fernando Alonso was the quickest McLaren driver, over seven tenths of a second slower than Raikkonen's time. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished down in sixth position after his running was cut short due to some car trouble.
Hamilton, winner of the last two Grands Prix, managed just three laps before his car came to a stop some 20 minutes into the session. The car was taken back to the pits halfway through the session and the Briton was able to return to action with over half an hour left to run. He eventually managed 20 laps.
"The engine protection system kicked in because the engine was too cool," explained a spokesman for McLaren's partners Mercedes. "We have changed the level of temperature and everything is okay."
Nico Rosberg continued showing promising form with the Williams, the German posting the fourth quickest time ahead of Scot David Coulthard. The Red Bull Racing driver, who was very unhappy with his car's balance early in the session, benefited from some set-up changes to complete a good start to his weekend.
Pole Robert Kubica returned to Formula One action following his horrific crash in Montreal. Kubica completed just an installation lap early on before spending several minutes in the pits. He eventually returned to the track with half an hour left to go.
The Honda team, using their heavily updated car for the first time during a Grand Prix weekend, were unable to show improved form, with Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button finishing down in 13th and 14th positions respectively.
Spyker's Adrian Sutil also lost valuable time in the pits after early problems meant he could only manage three laps before he was able to come back out with less than half an hour of the session to run. The German finished at the bottom of the times after just 15 laps.
The session stayed dry during the 90 minutes, despite some threatening clouds covering the track in the final moments.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:15.382 22 2. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:15.447 + 0.065 22 3. Alonso McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:16.154 + 0.772 19 4. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:16.214 + 0.832 24 5. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:16.268 + 0.886 24 6. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:16.277 + 0.895 20 7. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:16.338 + 0.956 25 8. Wurz Williams-Toyota (B) 1:16.407 + 1.025 23 9. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:16.441 + 1.059 19 10. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:16.603 + 1.221 26 11. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:16.895 + 1.513 32 12. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:16.967 + 1.585 22 13. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:16.990 + 1.608 25 14. Button Honda (B) 1:17.047 + 1.665 24 15. Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:17.103 + 1.721 33 16. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:17.166 + 1.784 26 17. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:17.168 + 1.786 26 18. Fisichella Renault (B) 1:17.226 + 1.844 20 19. Kovalainen Renault (B) 1:17.348 + 1.966 21 20. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:17.435 + 2.053 26 21. Albers Spyker-Ferrari (B) 1:18.178 + 2.796 28 22. Sutil Spyker-Ferrari (B) 1:18.419 + 3.037 15