Australia Free Practice: Raikkonen & Hamilton Fastest

Australia Free Practice: Raikkonen & Hamilton Fastest

Kimi Raikkonen - 2008 Australian Grand PrixFriday’s two free practice sessions were completed earlier this morning (GMT) and the results are very interesting. Although free practice isn’t the best way to gauge the relative competitiveness of each driver and team, it is the first time we have seen the cars on the circuit this year, driving with some degree of speed. Below are the times from both practices which saw Kimi Raikkonen lead the first and Lewis Hamilton the second.

The first practice was all about Raikkonen and the pace his Ferrari F2008 has. The Finn comfortably led Lewis Hamilton by 0.5s, although it should be noted that fuel levels are largely unknown; I wouldn’t expect this kind of margin in qualifying later today. Felipe Massa compounded the Ferrari pace by going third while fourth went to the second McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen.

From the first practice we can see that the Red Bulls are looking quite handy. Mark Webber managed fifth, David Coulthard in thirteenth. The Force India of Giancarlo Fisichella is also looking quite speedy, the Italian taking twelfth in the first and ninth in the second. I suspect his car was running on fumes as his team mate Adrian Sutil could only get as high as seventeenth in both sessions.

Honda weren’t massively off the pace either, with Jenson Button showing encouraging form in eleventh each and Rubens Barrichello in fifteenth and fourteenth respectively. Unfortunately Super Aguri, who only just managed to get to Australia, propped up the bottom of the timing sheets (Williams aside), Takuma Sato getting the better of Anthony Davidson on both occasions.

Williams, as I mentioned above, didn’t enjoy a great first session. Neither driver got any decent running in as the team struggled with a gear box issue. For the second session Nico Rosberg had a differential problem, thus rendering the car almost undriveable.

The second session saw a change of name at the top as Lewis Hamilton got the better of the Ferraris to lead. Second on the table was a remarkable effort from Mark Webber, although the Australian was close to a second off Hamilton’s pace. Coulthard improved to fifth in the afternoon underlying the pace of the RB4, although again, fuel levels are unknown.

Williams got out in the second session and Rosberg managed to get his FW30 into eighth, which is quite an achievement considering the problems he is having with his car at the moment. Also looking okay providing reliability holds out are Toyota. Despite Jarno Trulli’s mood swings all winter, the Cologne-team appear to have improved over their 2007 form, Trulli going from tenth to seventh and Timo Glock going from eighth to tenth. Admittedly, that isn’t too bad considering how they were performing during the off-season.

Renault aren’t looking as quick at the moment though. Mr-sx-tenths-man Fernando Alonso got his R28 into sixth in the first part of practice, but slipped thirteenth by the second. Nelson Piquet Jr didn’t enjoy his Friday either, starting out eighteenth and slipping to nineteenth by the afternoon. Alonso spoke of improving the stability of the car while Piquet rued an error on-track that caused damage to the gear box.

Practice One Times

1. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m26.461s 25 Laps
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m26.948s 21 Laps
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.958s 25 Laps
4. Heikki Kovalainen McLaren 1m27.114s 19 Laps
5. Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1m28.263s 18 Laps
6. Fernando Alonso Renault 1m28.360s 22 Laps
7. Robert Kubica BMW 1m28.579s 12 Laps
8. Timo Glock Toyota 1m28.913s 16 Laps
9. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1m28.957s 22 Laps
10. Jarno Trulli Toyota 1m29.014s 23 Laps
11. Jenson Button Honda 1m29.124s 25 Laps
12. Giancarlo Fisichella Force India 1m29.230s 24 Laps
13. David Coulthard Red Bull Racing 1m29.301s 5 Laps
14. Sebastien Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1m29.363s 32 Laps
15. Rubens Barrichello Honda 1m29.533s 17 Laps
16. Nick Heidfeld BMW 1m29.561s 7 Laps
17. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m30.155s 13 Laps
18. Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 1m30.357s 21 Laps
19. Takuma Sato Super Aguri 1m31.048s 7 Laps
20. Anthony Davidson Super Aguri 1m31.771s 7 Laps
21. Kazuki Nakajima Williams 1m35.053s 3 Laps
22. Nico Rosberg Williams No Time 0 Laps

Practice Two Times

1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m26.559s 33 Laps
2. Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1m27.473s 27 Laps
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m27.640s 29 Laps
4. Heikki Kovalainen McLaren 1m27.683s 28 Laps
5. David Coulthard Red Bull Racing 1m28.037s 26 Laps
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m28.208s 28 Laps
7. Jarno Trulli Toyota 1m28.292s 22 Laps
8. Nico Rosberg Williams 1m28.352s 31 Laps
9. Giancarlo Fisichella Force India 1m28.469s 32 Laps
10. Timo Glock Toyota 1m28.582s 28 Laps
11. Jenson Button Honda 1m28.632s 30 Laps
12. Nick Heidfeld BMW 1m28.731s 32 Laps
13. Fernando Alonso Renault 1m28.779s 37 Laps
14. Rubens Barrichello Honda 1m28.849s 28 Laps
15. Robert Kubica BMW 1m28.860s 35 Laps
16. Kazuki Nakajima Williams 1m29.077s 33 Laps
17. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m29.161s 32 Laps
18. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1m29.193s 40 Laps
19. Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 1m29.518s 14 Laps
20. Sebastien Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1m29.605s 11 Laps
21. Takuma Sato Super Aguri 1m30.663s 16 Laps
22. Anthony Davidson Super Aguri 1m31.527s 8 Laps
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