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Sato and Alonso move into play 11 Jun 2004

Takuma Sato (JPN) BAR Honda 006.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Practice Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 11 June 2004 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Practice Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 11 June 2004 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2004 locks up.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Practice Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 11 June 2004 Anthony Davidson (GBR) BAR Honda 006 crashes during practice.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Practice Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 11 June 2004 Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Toyota TF104.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Practice Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 11 June 2004

But Ferrari remain fastest overall on opening day

The pace began hotting up in Montreal this afternoon, as Takuma Sato and Fernando Alonso all but equalled Michael Schumacher’s morning form to head the timesheets.

The session took place in even better conditions – the track temperature was 48 degrees Celsius, the air 23 – and in front of a huge crowd of highly enthusiastic Quebecois.

Schumacher, with a new engine spec in the Ferrari, set the initial pace but then made an error and hit the wall exiting Turn 9, and had to creep back to the pits with the right front Bridgestone going flat. After repairs were effected he later missed the apex of Turn 8, and ended the session third on 1m 14.535s. This was just short of Sato, who screwed himself up to a best of 1m 14.086s (just shy of Schumacher’s 1m 14.013s morning time), and Alonso got between them with 1m 14.426s. Schumacher said his session had necessarily been disjointed, but both Sato and Alonso were very happy.

Fourth place brought a fillip for McLaren as Kimi Raikkonen banged in a 1m 14.581s late in the session before missing the apex of Turn 8, and this moved Rubens Barrichello down to fifth on 1m 14.705s. Ricardo Zonta was the final runner under 1m 15s, on 1m 14.871s for Toyota.

Cristiano da Matta was right behind him with 1m 15.146s, which edged out previously fastest Jenson Button, whose best was 1m 15.152s. David Coulthard was right behind his fellow Briton with 1m 15.164s in his McLaren, and Giancarlo Fisichella said he was very pleased with his Sauber after recording 1m 15.293s. This beat Jarno Trulli’s 1m 15.492s, and despite steering problems the Italian in turn edged out Anthony Davidson’s 1m 15.513s. Olivier Panis did 1m 15.538s, Ralf Schumacher 1m 15.803s and Mark Webber 1m 15.926s. It wasn’t a great day for Williams as Juan Pablo Montoya was only 20th on 1m 16.564s after a fuel leak interrupted his session.

Felipe Massa didn’t get a run on new tyres so was quite satisfied with 1m 16.119s for 16th place, while Minardi’s Gianmaria Bruni made the most of his new rubber for 1m 16.235s and 17th. That beat the Jordans of Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock (1m 16.508s and 1m 16.524s respectively), and their team mate Giorgio Pantano again failed to drive.

Christian Klien was 21st on 1m 16.815s, and Bjorn Wirdheim in the third Jaguar got in some laps after his morning problems to lap in 1m 19.260s for 24th and last place. Zsolt Baumgartner was 22nd for Minardi on 1m 16.981s, while Bas Leinders survived missing Turn 4 early in the session to post 1m 17.697s.

It was a relatively eventful session, apart from Schumacher’s brush with the wall. Alonso, Leinders, Fisichella (twice, within a lap), Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher, Klien, Barrichello, Zonta, Wirdheim and Raikkonen all either went momentarily off track or missed apexes, but the most serious incident came when Davidson lost his BAR under braking for Turn 6, in a rare error, and spun sideways into the tyres. Damage was confined to the right front suspension, and the Englishman was unharmed.

Jordan's Giorgio Pantano again failed to appear in the second session. “A personal matter has arisen which demanded Giorgio’s attention away from the circuit today so unfortunately he has not been able to take part in free practice," said team boss Eddie Jordan. "The team is supporting him in every way it can and we hope that he will back as soon as possible.”