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Toyota lead rain-hit Japan practice 07 Oct 2005

Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Toyota TF105.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, 7 October 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2005.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, 7 October 2005 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR Honda 007.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, 7 October 2005 Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, 7 October 2005 Sakon Yamamoto (JPN) Jordan Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, 7 October 2005

Showers make for inconclusive second session

As expected, the weather interrupted Friday afternoon’s practice session here at Suzuka, after Ricardo Zonta had set the fastest time of 1m 30.682s for Toyota. That compared with Pedro de la Rosa’s morning best of 1m 30.532s set in the McLaren MP4-20.

The Spaniard lapped in 1m 31.821s in the afternoon to chase Michael Schumacher’s 1m 31.716s in the Ferrari before a drizzle began which slowed the pace. Before that, Rubens Barrichello set the fourth best time for outgoing champions in 1m 32.267s followed by Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 32.849s. After a major bottom-end disruption this morning the Finn’s MP4-20 was running a replacement Mercedes-Benz V10, so he will definitely have a 10 grid place penalty on Sunday afternoon.

Behind Raikkonen, Ralf Schumacher improved to 1m 32.917s for Toyota, with team mate Jarno Trulli next on 1m 33.122s. Fernando Alonso was eighth on 1m 33.259s for Renault ahead of BAR’s Jenson Button (1m 33.453s), Williams’ Mark Webber (1m 33.520s), Red Bull’s David Coulthard (1m 33.563s) and Williams’ Antonio Pizzonia (1m 33.679s).

Takuma Sato was 13th on 1m 34.330s in the second BAR, then came Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 34.400s) for Renault, Sauber’s Felipe Massa (1m 33.421s), Red Bull’s Christian Klien (1m 33.707s), Jordan’s Japan-only third driver Sakon Yamamoto (who continued to impress with 1m 34.829s), Jacques Villeneuve in the second Sauber (1m 34.874s) and Vitantonio Liuzzi (1m 34.977s before his Red Bull’s Cosworth engine began spitting flames).

Robert Doornbos led the Minardi challenge with 1m 35.150s, team mate Christijan Albers lapping only 23rd fastest in 1m 37.626s. Jordan’s Tiago Monteiro was 21st on 1m 35.388s, leaving McLaren’s Juan Pablo Montoya on 1m 37.371s and Jordan’s Narain Karthikeyan on 1m 38.034s in 22nd and 24th places respectively.

It is safe to say that none of the times was representative as nobody got in their optimised laps before the drizzle turned into a downpour by the end of the session. What this means is that nobody got their full complement of data after this morning so as it was at Spa tyre evaluation will mainly be based on careful analysis of the lap times and the sector times. However, even that may be academic if the forecast poor weather settles in for the rest of the weekend.