De la Rosa sets early pace in China 14 Oct 2005
McLarens Pedro de la Rosa drew first blood at Shanghai International Circuit this morning as he lapped his MP4-20 in very foggy conditions in 1m 33.463s, beating the 2004 pole position time set by Rubens Barrichello of 1m 34.012s.
The Brazilian was second in this first practice session, taking his Ferrari round in 1m 35.303s to head Toyotas Ricardo Zonta who lapped in 1m 35.373s. Kimi Raikkonen had an active time, going off track twice under late braking for Turn 14, but took his MP4-20 round in 1m 35.481s. Michael Schumacher was next with 1nm 35.494s, ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya on 1m 35.521s, Fernando Alonso on 1m 35.605s and Mark Webber on 1m 35.945s.
David Coulthard was at the top of the next rung for Red Bull with 1m 36.089s which narrowly beat Jenson Buttons 1m 36.096s. There was some concern over Buttons health after a 24 hour virus that he picked up on Wednesday evening developed into a fever by this morning, but the Englishman was out in the newly livered BAR Honda 007. Third driver Anthony Davidson was on standby, but did not ultimately have to run, much to his disappointment.
Antonio Pizzonia took his Williams round in 1m 36.208s, then there was a gap to Takuma Satos 1m 36.829s and Ralf Schumachers 1m 36.866s. The German, like Toyota team mate Jarno Trulli (who was 19th on 1m 37.764s) was another to run deep and wide under braking for Turn 14.
Vitantonio Liuzzi lapped his Red Bull in 1m 37.119s, beating Saubers Felipe Massa right at the end. The Brazilian took his C24 round in 1m 37.123s which left him ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella on 1m 37.143s. The Brazilian had a half spin in Turn 9, while the Italian blotted his copybook again when he spun his Renault in Turn 2 and was left beached in the gravel.
Christian Klien was 16th after a lap of 1m 37.490s in the third of the Red Bulls, then came Jacques Villeneuve (1m 37.688s), Trulli, Narain Karthikeyan (1m 38.308s), Tiago Monteiro (1m 39.088s), Nicolas Kiesa (back in the third Jordan for a lap of 1m 39.687s), and finally the Minardis of Christijan Albers (1m 40.787s) and Robert Doornbos (1m 40.815s).