Raikkonen in charge after final practice 20 Aug 2005
McLaren stamped their authority on proceedings this morning at Istanbul Park, but BAR ran them close.
This time it was Kimi Raikkonen flying the flag for the silver arrows as he sped to fastest time of 1m 26.120s, in the process deposing Jenson Button, but the Englishman was in the hunt with 1m 26.599s and Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya were within striking distance on 1m 26.627s and 1m 26.748s respectively.
As predicted, it was warmer still than yesterday, with an ambient temperature high of 29 degrees Celsius and track temperatures reaching 42. The track was in better condition too, with more rubber going down in the first session as well as in yesterday's GP2 session.
Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato supported their team mates well, lapping in 1m 27.240s and 1m 27.308s, and at this stage the battle seems to be between McLaren, BAR and Renault. However, Mark Webber provided encouragement for Williams with 1m 27.335s for seventh place ahead of Ralf Schumacher, who wheeled his Toyota round in 1m 27.556s. David Coulthard was ninth for Red Bull on 1m 27.796s and the top 10 was completed by Felipe Massa who had a spin and a couple of wild laps before getting down to 1m 27.829s for Sauber.
Christian Klien lapped in 1m 27.919s for 11th, chased by Jarno Trulli (1m 27.921s) and Nick Heidfeld (1m 27.951s). Having read this far you may be wondering where the Ferraris were, and the answer was 14th and 16th, either side of Jacques Villeneuve's Sauber. Michael Schumacher had his fifth and sixth 'offs' of the weekend, one in each session, on his way to 1m 28.155s;Rubens Barrichello managed 1m 28.615s. Given how close Jordan were, it remains to be seen whether Ferrari and Bridgestone are in trouble, or whether this is part of the sort of strategy they employed so effectively in Hungary to lull rivals into a false sense of security prior to qualifying.
Villeneuve recorded 1m 28.534s, which was not far ahead of Jordan driver Tiago Monteiro who posted 1m 28.830s on his way to 17th. Robert Doornbos aced Christijan Albers at Minardi, the latter spinning in Turn 7 and then going wide in Turn 10 at one stage. Doornbos's fastest lap was 1m 30.155s, Albers' 1m 30.999s.
At the bottom of the times, Narain Karthikeyan only did an out lap before his Jordan was struck down by technical problems.
Once again there was plenty of action off track. Besides Schumacher Snr, Massa and Albers, Webber and Heidfeld also sinned, as did Barrichello, Raikkonen and Fisichella, but nobody did any damage.
Now everyone has their data for qualifying, when a clearer picture should emerge of the true state of play.