Free Practice 2: Kimi hits the front

Kimi Raikkonen (1m23.196s) demonstrated that McLaren should again be challenging at the sharp end in the San Marino Grand Prix with quickest time in the first session of free practice on Saturday morning

The McLarens of Raikkonen and David Coulthard were only eighth and ninth quickest in the first official qualifying session yesterday, but the team were on a harder tyre and admitted that there was still work to be done with the set-up.

Ralf Schumacher's Williams-BMW was second quickest (1m23.310s), ahead of the Ferraris, with Rubens Barrichello (1m23.536s) marginally faster than five times champion Michael Schumacher (1m23.576s). David Coulthard (1m23.740s) set fifth quickest time in the second McLaren MP4-17D, just 0.02s quicker than Juan Pablo Montoya in the second Williams.

Olivier Panis (1m24.099s) showed evidence of Toyota's pace with seventh fastest time and is hoping that he will enjoy some reliability at Imola after problems in each of the flyaway races. Fuel pressure problems have plagued the team thus far, with increased temperatures around the fuel tank area thought to a strong contributory factor. The team has undergone a thorough trouble-shooting programme and is hopeful that they have solved their problems.

Spaniard Fernando Alonso's Renault (1m24.117s) recorded eighth quickest time, ahead of new Brazilian Grand Prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella (1m24.132s) and Jarno Trulli (1m24.322s) aboard the second R23. Jacques Villeneuve (1m24.658s) had a lurid spin but was 11th quickest, just 0.1s up on BAR-Honda stable mate Jenson Button.

Mark Webber, who looked so promising yesterday (Friday) in fifth, had a technical problem that caused his R4 to grind to a halt before he could set a time. Justin Wilson and Heinz-Harald Frentzen also had problems. Wilson's Minardi making it out on track only in the final 20 minutes, while Frentzen's Sauber suffered a rare Ferrari engine failure after just six laps.

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