Raikkonen quickest race driver on day one
Alexander Wurz continued to play his role of McLaren hare at Hockenheim in second practice this afternoon, closing in on Kimi Raikkonens lap record of 1m 13.780s with a best time of 1m 13.973s. That compares with the pole position set last year by Michael Schumacher in 1m 13.306s.
Clearly running a different programme to the Austrian, Raikkonen was second fastest in 1m 14.576s, leaving Renaults Fernando Alonso (1m 15.560s) and McLaren team mate Juan Pablo Montoya (1m 15.772s) in his wake.
Not too much should be read into these times, however, as Friday is traditionally the day on which teams run both choices from their tyre manufacturers in order to evaluate them prior to making their final decision which to run in time for qualifying.
Fourteen cars were in the 1m 16s bracket, and between fifth-fastest Ricardo Zonta and 18th fastest Takuma Sato there was only 0.801s.
Zonta lapped his Toyota in 1m 16.091s, then came Renaults Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 16.146s), who survived a minor coming together with Christijan Alber's Minardi, Saubers Felipe Massa (1m 16.161s) and Vitantonio Liuzzi (1m 16.297s), who was running a 10 series Cosworth V10 all day rather than the 35 bhp more powerful 12 series engines that are in the Red Bull race cars of team mates David Coulthard and Christian Klien.
Next up was Toyota's Jarno Trulli (1m 16.411s), then Michael Schumacher for Ferrari (1m 16.474s), Ralf Schumacher in the Toyota(1m 16.575s), Klien (1m 16.658s), Jenson Button in the BAR(1m 16.752s), the Williams of Mark Webber (1m 16.879s) and Nick Heidfeld (1m 16.893s), Rubens Barrichello in the second Ferrari (1m 16.913s), Saubers Jacques Villeneuve (1m 16.938s) and Sato for BAR (1m 16.992s).
When teams were testing their choices of tyre in Jerez recently in readiness for Hockenheim, the conditions were hot and they expected similar weather here. Instead, it has been unusually cool at Hockenheim (track temperature 28 degrees Celsius, air temperature 21), and that gave some of the drivers problems generating enough rubber temperature on the first lap with new tyres. Liuzzi and Klien had minor offs, the Italian spinning in Turn 2 and the Austrian going off momentarily in Turn 6. Montoya went off in Turn 1, and Narain Karthikeyan and David Coulthard both had spins.
Karthikeyan recovered to set 19th fastest time in 1m 17.506s, chased by the Double Dutch duo at Minardi. Albers recorded 1m 17.830s, despite complaining of less car balance after his Fisichella incident, while new boy Robert Doornbos was right behind his compatriot with 1m 17.978s. Tiago Monteiro was 22nd on 1m 18.227s, and Nicolas Kiesa brought up the rear with 1m 19.484s in the third Jordan.
Coulthard did not record a time after spinning his Red Bull in Turn 17 on his first flying lap, lightly hitting the wall and beaching the car in the gravel on the outside of the final corner. Despite sustaining damage to the rear suspension, his team confirmed the car will be ready ahead of tomorrows practice and qualifying sessions.