McLaren set early Istanbul standard 19 Aug 2005
Action aplenty marked the first practice session for the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix, as drivers acclimatised themselves with the new track and its green surface for the first time.
McLaren set the pace, with Pedro de la Rosa heading team mate Kimi Raikkonen, with respective times of 1m 27.882s and 1m 28.453s. But it was not all good news for the Woking-based team as the Spaniard caused the session to be red-flagged in the final quarter when his MP4-20 stopped out on the circuit with suspected hydraulic problems.
Mark Webber was in strong form for Williams with third fastest 1m 28.765s, then came Toyotas Ricardo Zonta on 1m 28.810s and Jenson Button who lapped his BAR in 1m 28.968s.
The midfield was busy, with Juan Pablo Montoya sixth on 1m 29.183s ahead of Fernando Alonso on 1m 29.283s and Michael Schumacher on 1m 29.766s. Takuma Sato was ninth on 1m 30.050s from Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 30.106s), Felipe Massa (1m 30.368s), Ralf Schumacher (1m 30.563s), Jarno Trulli (1m 30.783s), Nick Heidfeld (1m 30.847s and Jacques Villeneuve (who matched the Germans lap time).
Both Schumacher Snr and team mate Rubens Barrichello spun their Ferraris while finding the limit on a track that was still very dusty in places, while Vitantonio Liuzzi, Webber, Schumacher Snr, Heidfeld and David Coulthard had moments as they ran off course.
Christian Klien was 15th, lapping his Red Bull in 1m 31.008s to take the team honours from Coulthard (1m 31.306s) and Liuzzi (1m 31.353s), but Barrichello spoiled their symmetry with his lap of 1m 31.294s which left him 16th.
Tiago Monteiro was the fastest Jordan driver with 1m 32.147s, then came Nicolas Kiesa on 1m 32.501s and Narain Karthikeyan on 1m 32.886s. At Minardi, Christijan Albers pushed his PS05 round in 1m 33.474s as team mates Robert Doornbos and newcomer Enrique Toccacelo managed 1m 35.567s and 1m 36.41ss respectively. Albers suffered an apparent engine failure partway through the session.
These are early times, and they will of course fall again this afternoon as more rubber goes down. But so far the indications are that the Turks have got off to a great start on their Formula One debut.