Raikkonen suffers McLaren engine blow 01 Jul 2005
McLaren were top again this afternoon, capturing first and second places in second practice for the French Grand Prix, but in many ways the team could barely have got off to a worse start.
They saw at close range the scale of the mountain they have to climb in order to win this year's world championship when Kimi Raikkonen's latest Mercedes engine broke during his first flying lap. Pluming oil smoke, the McLaren pulled off after Turn 10, leaving the Finn at the bottom of the timesheets. He now faces the prospect of having to fight back from the middle of the grid on Sunday afternoon.
In his enforced absence, team mate Juan Pablo Montoya set the pace with 1m 15.129s to push ahead of Michael Schumachers fleet Ferrari (1m 15.204s) and Fernando Alonsos threatening Renault (1m 15.242s). Then, right at the end of the hour, Pedro de la Rosa pushed to the fore in his Friday MP4-20, lapping in 1m 14.460s.
Behind the Spaniard, the times were very close. After Alonso came team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella with 1m 15.380s, Formula One returnee Olivier Panis with 1m 15.483s for Toyota; Rubens Barrichello on 1m 15.605s; Jarno Trulli on 1m 15.774s and Ralf Schumacher with 1m 15.925s.
David Coulthard had a slightly adventurous afternoon for Red Bull Racing, after two excursions off at the Adelaide hairpin on his way to 10th fastest time of 1m 16.371s, then came Jacques Villeneuve with 1m 16.430s for Sauber; Jenson Button with 1m 16.597s for BAR; Felipe Massa in the other Sauber on 1m 16.753s; Takuma Sato on 1m 16.890s and Tonio Liuzzi in the third Red Bull (still to Nurburgring specification) on 1m 16.987s.
No sooner had Raikkonens engine blown than Christian Klien backed his Red Bull into the tyre wall in Turn 7, so it was an action-packed few minutes. The Austrian had just recorded the fastest first sector time when he lost control. His previous lap of 1m 18.897s left him 22nd overall.
Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld have yet to show their true pace for Williams, the Australian netting 16th fastest time with his 1m 17.107s and the German lapping in 1m 17.192s.
Robert Doornbos was again the fastest Jordan driver with 1m 17.574s, with Narain Karthikeyan next on 1m 17.790s. Tiago Monteiro only managed 1m 19.186s after his morning incident.
Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher were evenly matched for Minardi, with times of 1m 18.508s and 1m 18.897s.