Thursday, May 21, 2009

Prac One: Ferrari, McLaren join Brawn in the battle

Thursday 21st May 2009

Ferrari and McLaren joined Brawn GP in fighting for the top honours in the opening practice session for the prestigious Monaco GP, but, as to be expected, it was Brawn who triumphed.

Rubens Barrichello, who is determined to join his team-mate Jenson Button in the winner column, clocked the fastest time of the session, a 1:17.189 to beat Ferrari's Felipe Massa by 0.310.

Third place went Lewis Hamilton, while his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen was fourth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

Report: With sunny skies overhead and a track temperature of 30'C greeted the drivers as Nick Heidfeld, Giancarlo Fisichella, Seb Buemi, Adrian Sutil and Seb Vettel got proceedings underway. They were followed out of the rather narrow Monaco pit lane by a train of drivers all putting in their installation laps.

Buemi ventured out for the first timed lap of the morning and posted a 1:25.201 around the 3.340km circuit. The Swiss driver, the only rookie in this year's field, took 4s off his time over the course of the next four laps when finally he was joined by Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli, who went second and third respectively.

Massa, putting in his first time of the morning, took out a trackside bollard on his way to a 1:24.211, which put him third. Bourdais took fifth place on his first attempt but was 10s off the pace. Massa moved up to first place before being dethroned by Glock, who posted a 1:19.983. Massa returns to the P1 slot, taking a second off Glock's time while Kimi Raikkonen goes third ahead of Jenson Button, Nelson Piquet and Bourdais.

Lewis Hamilton, leaving it late to come out, was quickly on the pace as he took third behind Button. The Brit, though, was soon dropped by Renault's Fernando Alonso. Hamilton improved to take P1 with a 1:18.376, 0.5s up on Massa's time. Nico Rosberg also climbed up the order, moving into fifth place ahead of his team-mate Kazuki Nakajima, Raikkonen and Vettel. Rosberg improved to second on his next lap before being dropped by Mark Webber. The German, though, retook the position seconds later.

With half the session completed everyone barring the two BMWs of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica had set lap times with Buemi, Bourdais and Trulli the slowest three. And so far no one had touched the barriers!

Rubens Barrichello made the most up for fifth place, slotting in ahead of Alonso and Massa. Heikki Kovalainen improved to sixth place as Heidfeld, after having his brakes worked on by his BMW mechanics, finally made his way out on to the track. His team-mate Kubica was still stuck in the garage as the team worked on his brake balance.

Massa improved to second place behind Hamilton, 0.5s off the McLaren's pace. Could this be the race where McLaren and Ferrari come to the fore? Problems for Vettel as his Renault engine started spewing spoke out of the left bank. And as the German insisted on return to his team's garage a trail of oil has been left over at least a quarter of the track.

Barrichello, though, paid no attention to the concerns as he put in a 1:17.505 to take the P1 slot. Kubica set a time but found himself second slowest with only Trulli behind him. Raikkonen slotted into fourth place joining Barrichello, Massa and Hamilton in the 1:17s.

The final ten minutes saw a flurry of activity, however, the top three did not change with Barrichello ending the session quickest.

01 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:17.189 25 laps
02 F. Massa Ferrari 1:17.499 30 laps
03 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:17.578 25 laps
04 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:17.686 29 laps
05 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:17.839 29 laps
06 K. Nakajima Williams 1:18.000 29 laps
07 N. Rosberg Williams 1:18.024 27 laps
08 J. Button Brawn GP 1:18.080 27 laps
09 F. Alonso Renault 1:18.283 30 laps
10 M. Webber Red Bull 1:18.348 22 laps
11 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:18.695 36 laps
12 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:19.204 36 laps
13 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:19.233 16 laps
14 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:19.255 31 laps
15 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:19.534 28 laps
16 R. Kubica BMW 1:19.255 31 laps
17 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:19.579 23 laps
18 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:19.600 24 laps
19 T. Glock Toyota 1:19.698 24 laps
20 J. Trulli Toyota 1:19.831 28 laps

Source : Planet F1

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