McLaren head session two, but Schumacher top overall
Michael Schumacher said yesterday that he expected to have some opposition at Monza, and this afternoons practice session tended to back up that belief. Kimi Raikkonen kept McLaren on top of the pack with fastest time of 1m 20.846s ahead of Rubens Barrichellos Ferrari on 1m 20.899s.
Schumacher was only third, but his morning best of 1m 20.526s remains the best lap so far this weekend. For the record, that compares with the 2003 pole time of 1m 20.963s set by the champion, and the fastest race lap of 1m 21.832s.
It was a fairly uneventful session apart from the usual chicane problems that beset Ryan Briscoe, David Coulthard, Felipe Massa, Olivier Panis, Bjorn Wirdheim, Zsolt Baumgartner, Antonio Pizzonia, Giorgio Pantano, Jarno trulli, Gianmaria Bruni, Ricardo Zonta, Christian Klien, Giancarlo Fisichella and Mark Webber. All of them missed chicanes, Webber spinning on the approach to the first.
The most serious incident befell Pizzonia, who crashed his Williams on the entry to Parabolica after a front-left brake disc failure. The Brazilian was unharmed but his car lost the right-rear wheel.
Jenson Button was fourth fastest for BAR, quietly satisfied with 1m 21.124s since Schumacher had just done his 1m 21.080s when the Englishman recorded his time. Pizzonias 1m 21.264s held up for fifth ahead of Takuma Satos 1m 21.313s, then came Juan Pablo Montoya (1m 21.419s), Anthony Davidson (1m 21.544s) and Fernando Alonso (1m 21.630s).
Coulthard led the next group with 1m 22.052s, then came a veritably horde with Briscoe looking impressive yet again on 1m 22.197s, Massa on 1m 22.258s, Zonta on 1m 22.298s, Fisichella on 1m 22.302s, Timo Glock on 1m 22.332s, Webber on 1m 22.392s, Panis on 1m 22..813s and Wirdheim on 1m 22.914s.
Klien was 20th on 1m 23.199s, then there was a relatively large gap (by Monza standards) to Pantanos 1m 23.818s. Bas Leinders was again the quickest Minardi driver with 1m 24.045s, with Baumgartner next on 1m 24.063s and Bruni on 1m 24.225s. Nick Heidfelds Jordan stopped at Curva Grande on his first flying lap, so he did not record a time.
Friday, of course, is the day when everyone tries all sorts of things and can throw up confusing times, but the indications are that qualifying tomorrow will be very close.