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McLaren and Raikkonen do it again 10 Jul 2004

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/19B.
Formula One World Championship, British Grand Prix, Rd 11, Practice, Silverstone, England, 9 July 2004 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, British Grand Prix, Rd 11, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, 10 July 2004 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR Honda 006.
Formula One World Championship, British Grand Prix, Rd 11, Practice, Silverstone, England, 9 July 2004 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2004.
Formula One World Championship, British Grand Prix, Rd 11, Practice, Silverstone, England, 9 July 2004 Marc Gene (ESP) Williams BMW FW26.
Formula One World Championship, British Grand Prix, Rd 11, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, 10 July 2004

Flying Finn unstoppable ahead of qualifying

The final practice sessions at Silverstone this morning were another triumph for Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren, and a relative disaster for world champions Michael Schumacher and Ferrari.

As Raikkonen swept to the fastest time so far this weekend of 1m 18.280s, Schumacher had a spin at Brooklands in the first session and then went off for good, slithering over a gravel trap, at Priory in the second. The world champion’s Ferrari was pushed away the second time by the marshals, leaving him only eighth on 1m 18.951s.

Jenson Button boosted hopes of a home win by taking the second fastest time for BAR, with a late run to 1m 18.414s. That beat Rubens Barrichello’s 1m 18.623s and Jarno Trulli’s 1m 18.694s.

Four other drivers lapped below 1m 19s: Marc Gene aced Williams team mate Juan Pablo Montoya, with 1m 18.832s to 1m 18.912s. David Coulthard was right behind the Colombian, with 1m 18.919s, and then came Schumacher. Fernando Alonso (1m 19.169s) and Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 19.895s) completed the top 10.

Cristiano da Matta led the way for Toyota with 11th fastest 1m 20.183s, and after some brake-related problems Felipe Massa got going for 1m 20.281s in the second Sauber.

Mark Webber was 13th on 1m 20.310s, with Jaguar partner Christian Klien 17th on 1m 20.913s. Between them were Olivier Panis (1m 20.531s), Nick Heidfeld (1m 20.726s) and Takuma Sato (1m 20.837s).

At the back, Zsolt Baumgartner pulled out a 1m 21.980s for Minardi, followed by Giorgio Pantano on 1m 22.014s and Gianmaria Bruni, whose Minardi stopped at Copse after he had recorded 1m 23.941s.

Of course it remains to be seen what individual fuel loads everyone will run in qualifying, but Magny-Cours showed that McLaren does not need to run extra light now to go fast, so we are in for a gripping session to decide the grid.