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McLaren stay ahead in final practice 23 Jul 2005

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 22 July 2005

McLaren and Renault squared up to one another at Hockenheim this morning, and if the lap times are any indication there will be another nip-and-tuck fight between them in qualifying and again on Sunday afternoon.

The first session belonged to McLaren, with Kimi Raikkonen just shading Juan Pablo Montoya, 1m 15.684s to 1m 15.75€s, and Fernando Alonso trailing them with 1m 16.477s. Christian Klien and Felipe Massa were next up for Sauber and Red Bull respectively.

In the second, the two McLaren drivers continued their inter-team battle as they swapped fastest time. In the end it was Raikkonen on top with 1m 14.128s, with Montoya three-tenths behind on 1m 14.449s. Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella were not far behind however in their Renaults. The Spaniard lapped in 1m 14.758s, while the Italian made a late jump with 1m 14.958s.

There was encouragement for Jenson Button as the BAR proved good enough for fifth fastest time in 1m 15.072s, while Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld were happier than of late with the Williams as they set the sixth and eighth best laps; Webber managed 1m 15.111s, Heidfeld 1m 15.255s. Between them sat the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher, struggling with 1m 15.25€s.

The top 10 was rounded out by Klien on 1m 15.€88s, and Jarno Trulli with 1m 15.417s for Toyota. Again, the times in the midfield are close, with David Coulthard 11th on 1m 15.491s ahead of Ralf Schumacher (1m 15.585s), Takuma Sato (1m 15.699s) and Felipe Massa (1m 15.781s). Jacques Villeneuve was close behind his Sauber team mate with 1m 16.0€7s, just ahead of Rubens Barrichello on 1m 16.072s. Some of these runners may not have run with very low fuel.

Minardi won their habitual battle with Jordan as Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos were 17th and 18th on 1m 16.674s and 1m 16.912s respectively, before Doornbos’ car stopped at the end of the pit lane and had to be wheeled back to its garage. Narain Karthikeyan was 19th on 1n 17.210s, and Tiago Monteiro got down to 1m 17.966s before going off for good in Turn 1€.

Others who erred were Alonso in Turn 8 and Barrichello in Turn 12 in the first session, then Trulli (Turn €), Villeneuve (Turn 6), Coulthard (Turn 2) and Klien (Turn 1) in the second. Only Monteiro was unable to continue.