Massa dominates first practice at Spa
|By Matt Beer||Friday, September 5th 2008, 09:35 GMT|
Felipe Massa maintained his recent strong form by dominating Friday morning practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Brazilian's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen took second, with Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen third and fourth for McLaren.
Massa was fastest for the majority of the morning at an overcast but dry Spa-Francorchamps, setting the first flying lap of the weekend and then repeatedly improving his time as his first run progressed.
Raikkonen had a more leisurely start to his Spa weekend and then spoiled his first effort with a mistake at La Source, but he eventually got down to a 1:48.075 to usurp Massa at the top of the times as the session approached its halfway point.
But Raikkonen's period in front was brief, as Massa lapped in 1:47.813 six minutes later to reclaim first position, where he would stay despite improvements by both his teammate and Hamilton - the latter beating the Ferraris' times in the middle sector when on soft tyres but losing out in the other two-thirds of the lap.
Massa also switch to soft tyres for his final run and found even more time, improving to first a 1:47.369 then 1:47.284 to cement his position as the opening practice pace-setter.
Raikkonen ended up 0.339 seconds adrift after his own last outing, with Hamilton having to settle for third after an error at La Source. The Briton had earlier taken a trip through the gravel at Les Combes.
Renault's Fernando Alonso was the nearest challenger to the title contenders throughout the session and ended up fifth behind Kovalainen.
Mark Webber leapt from the midfield to sixth for Red Bull with his last lap of the session, pushing the Toro Rossos down the order.
The junior Red Bull squad again showed promising speed, with Sebastien Bourdais taking sixth and Sebastian Vettel seventh - the latter escaping some wild sideways slides and a few trips over the run-off areas.
Bourdais' morning then came to a strange end when his car ground to a halt on the exit of La Source as he tried to return to the pits after the post-session practice starts.
Toyota's Timo Glock and Renault's Nelson Piquet completed the top ten, as BMW had a disappointing morning. Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld only managed 11th and 12th, with Kubica complaining bitterly about his car's performance over the radio.
Others in trouble included Jarno Trulli, whose Toyota was kept in the pits by an electrical problem for much of the session, and Honda - as Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello ended the session slowest of all.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:47.284 26
2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:47.623 + 0.339 26
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:47.878 + 0.594 27
4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:47.932 + 0.648 24
5. Alonso Renault (B) 1:48.104 + 0.820 26
6. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:48.428 + 1.144 29
7. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:48.557 + 1.273 31
8. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:48.958 + 1.674 24
9. Glock Toyota (B) 1:48.997 + 1.713 26
10. Piquet Renault (B) 1:49.068 + 1.784 25
11. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:49.139 + 1.855 25
12. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:49.185 + 1.901 26
13. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:49.611 + 2.327 30
14. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:49.625 + 2.341 14
15. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:49.849 + 2.565 18
16. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:49.986 + 2.702 27
17. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:50.117 + 2.833 19
18. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:50.125 + 2.841 30
19. Button Honda (B) 1:50.464 + 3.180 25
20. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:50.905 + 3.621 25
All Timing Unofficial