Prac 2: Raikkonen on top

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen put his stamp on Friday's second practice session at Spa as teams ready their cars for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix. BAR's Jenson Button was second ahead of Ferrari's Michael Schumacher while Toyota's Ryan Briscoe was lucky to walk away from a smash at Eau Rouge

Prac 2: Raikkonen on top

As in the first session, the rain stayed away and allowed the teams a full session of running to evaluate tyres and hone their packages. First out of the blocks was opening session pacesetter Anthony Davidson, whose early 1m46.079s was soon toppled by team-mate Button (1m46-dead) and then the third BAR of Takuma Sato (1m45.451s).

That was soon blown away by Raikkonen, whose 1m44.701s effort was the fastest of the weekend so far. Button lowered his best time by a second, ending the session three-tenths behind Raikkonen. Michael Schumacher was third fastest in his Ferrari, but this was a scrappy session for the world champion, epitomised when he chose to complete a final flying lap past the chequered flag only to lock-up at La Source...

He also survived a 100mph spin on the exit of the first element of Stavelot before setting a 1m45.137s but, along with team-mate Rubens Barrichello, seemed to struggle to get the F2004 to turn-in at the slower stuff, including the new-look Bus Stop chicane, which they both overshot on a couple of occasions.

Davidson was fourth fastest, lowering his time to 1m45.437s, ahead of Sato, David Coulthard (McLaren), Antonio Pizzonia (Williams) and Barrichello. Fernando Alonso (Renault) and Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) rounded out the top 10.

The session was halted for eight minutes to recover the wrecked Toyota of Ryan Briscoe, which had crashed heavily at Eau Rouge less than 15 minutes into the session. Although the TV cameras missed the start of incident, tyre marks left at the bottom of the hill suggest the Toyota snapped to the right, when it should have been turning left. Technical director Mike Gascoyne confirmed later that a puncture had occurred at the very worst of moments...

Having hit the end of the old pitwall, Briscoe then hit the Armco on the inside of the left-hander and was catapulted across the track to hit the tyres on the outside of the right-hand element. Fortunately, it appears the angles the Toyota struck the barriers were such that Briscoe didn't sustain any large hits, and quickly hopped out of the car unscathed.

The Saubers of Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella hovered on the brink of the top 10, followed by the Jaguar of Mark Webber and the surviving Toyotas of Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta. Jarno Trulli was down in 16th, as his Renault career threatens to go out with a whimper, ahead of Jaguar's youngsters Bjorn Wirdheim and Christian Klien.

Behind the medical centre-bound Briscoe in 19th came a surprisingly sprightly Zsolt Baumgartner, whose Minardi outpaced the Jordans of Nick Heidfeld, Timo Glock and Giorgio Pantano. Local hero Bas Leinders outpaced the third Minardi of Gianmaria Bruni.

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