As the teams descend on the Turkish circuit at Istanbul, Kimi Raikkonen laid down the gauntlet during the first free practice of the Grand Prix weekend. Setting a time of 1m27.988s, the Finn managed to pip his team mate Felipe Massa by 0.4s, who leads the McLaren duo by 0.8s. The significant margin between Ferrari and McLaren confirms the progress the Scuderia have made over the three week break, and already it seems that while Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton may have made up, they have a difficult weekend ahead of them.
With the circuit covered in dust, a fair few drivers visited the scenery during the 90 minute session. Both Ferrari pilots, Lewis Hamilton, Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, Mark Webber and David Coulthard (who also suffered a flash fire) all spun while attempting to improve their times. However, the synchronised driving from the Toyota pair did little to dent their progress as Schumacher ended his morning in seventh and Trulli in tenth.
Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen did well to place his car in fifth, considerably better than his experienced team mate Giancarlo Fisichella who could only manage eighth. Another notable disappointment were BMW, with Nick Heidfeld finishing in ninth and Robert Kubica in eleventh. However, the German/Swiss squad tend to make a slow start to their weekends and they will likely improve during the afternoon.
Spyker propped up the timing sheet, Sakon Yamamoto trailing his team mate Adrian Sutil by 0.8s. Sebastian Vettel also struggled to match his team mate, finishing in 20th and 0.7s behind Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Free Practice One Times
|12.||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri||1m30.384s|
|13.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m30.398s|
|16.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m30.612s|
|17.||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri||1m30.624s|
|19.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1m30.917s|
|20.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m31.383s|
The second free practice session of the day was meant to allow the teams to improve on their morning form and further press ahead with set up work and strategy planning. However, it wasn’t long before the second 90 minute practice was red flagged due to a drain cover working lose and causing a potential hazard. After thirty minutes of no laps, the circuit was reopened, but few drivers managed to improve on their already set times.
Lewis Hamilton regained control then, in the interrupted event, followed by Kimi Raikkonen and then the two Toyota drivers of Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli. Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso lined up fifth and sixth respectively, although the times in the second session were much closer than that of the first.
Unfortunately BMW did not improve, in fact Nick Heidfeld went backwards to thirteenth and 0.15s slower than his morning lap. There was no change at Honda and both drivers hold station in fourteenth and fifteenth. Liuzzi dropped back as well but still remains ahead of his German team mate Vettel while both Spykers again prop up the timing sheet with Yamamoto in the final position.
The only real incident of the afternoon (other than the drain cover that got whipped into the air after Fisichella drove over it) was Anthony Davidson who plowed his Super Aguri into the barriers at turn three. The resulting yellow flags put an end to the final set of laps completed and the session ended with little achievement.
Free Practice Two Times
|11.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m29.435s|
|16.||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri||1m30.104s|
|17.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1m30.314s|
|18.||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri||1m30.530s|
|19.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m30.702s|
|20.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m30.801s|