The US Grand Prix kicks off today with Friday practice sessions occupying much of the day. In addition to the Formula One cars charging around the Brickyard, the FIA had their own little practice last night. With the intention of running night-time races next year, FIA Safety Car driver Bernd Maylander drove his Mercedes Benz through a series of corners to get a good judgement on visibility. The company that provides lighting for ChampCar and NASCAR night races – Musco Lights – erected a few lamps around Indy, and the FIA took video footage to gauge how well the cameras work in low-level light.
But getting back to today and the events that occurred in daylight, Fernando Alonso led Practice Session One, but interestingly it was BMW’s Nick Heidfeld who finished up in second. The pace of the BMW was compounded when experienced Man-Friday and Kubica stand-in Sebastian Vettel put his sister car into fourth. Lewis Hamilton ended the morning in third, while Ferrari looked to be struggling a little with Kimi Raikkonen in fifth and Felipe Massa in seventh.
Kazuki Nakajima again drove for Williams, having no other conflicting race to take part in, and Nico Rosberg popped his car into a credible sixth. The Renault appeared to suffer as well, with Giancarlo Fisichella down in 16th and Heikki Kovalainen in 19th. Ralf Schumacher has improved to 13th, but was still beaten by his team mate Jarno Trulli who lapped the circuit 0.1s faster to be placed in 11th.
Practice Session One Times
|8.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m13.159s|
|10.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1m13.682s|
|14.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m13.907s|
|15.||Scott Speed||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m13.990s|
|17.||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri||1m14.037s|
|20.||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri||1m14.632s|
Fernando Alonso headed up the second practice session at Indianapolis this afternoon, lapping the circuit 0.2s faster than his team mate Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari improved their form from the morning session to end the day in third and fourth, Felipe Massa getting the better of Kimi Raikkonen.
Nick Heidfeld went backwards, lapping Indy 0.6s slower than he managed in the morning, and test driver Sebastian Vettel couldn’t replicate his fine form either, ending Friday in eleventh. Both Honda’s improved, completing the top ten and showing encouraging pace. American racer Scott Speed was down in 18th, while Toro Rosso partner Vitantonio Liuzzi managed a strong 13th. In the parent Red Bull team, David Coulthard did well to finish in sixth, while Mark Webber suffered a mechanical failure but still kept his nose clean to end up twelfth.
Practice Session Two Times
|6.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m13.042s|
|12.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1m13.263s|
|13.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m13.332s|
|14.||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri||1m13.364s|
|18.||Scott Speed||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m13.712s|
|19.||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri||1m13.753s|