Saturday, August 20, 2005

Montoya tops early morning practice 

Juan Pablo Montoya continued his strong form in Istanbul by setting the pace in the first of Saturday’s two 45-minute practice sessions.

The Colombian was the fastest ‘race’ driver yesterday and took top honours with a well-timed flier at the very end of this morning’s session.

The McLaren driver’s lap of 1m26.857s eclipsed an impressive effort from Jenson Button, who had vaulted to the top a couple of minutes earlier.

Untypically, Michael Schumacher was the first man to complete a timed lap – an indication, perhaps, of how much Ferrari is struggling here so far this weekend.

The world champion emphasised that fact with more than one fraught moment under braking, and was soon shuffled unceremoniously down the timing charts to an eventual 14th place.

Championship protagonists Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen both enjoyed brief spells at the top before Button and Montoya relegated them to third and fourth places respectively.

Takuma Sato underlined BAR-Honda’s pace with the fifth fastest time, a mere 0.3s adrift of Montoya and a similar margin ahead of Nick Heidfeld in the leading Williams-BMW.

The German’s team-mate Mark Webber was close behind in seventh, while Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) and David Coulthard (Red Bull) also made it into the 1m27s.

Sauber’s Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten ahead of Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher and the second Red Bull of Christian Klien, who had a hair-raising moment when he ran wide at the very fast turn eight."

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