De la Rosa dominates opening practice 02 Sep 2005
Pedro de la Rosa headed first practice for McLaren today, comfortably outpacing Mark Webbers Williams. The Spaniards session included a brief duel with Michael Schumacher as they passed and repassed before the McLaren dropped the Ferrari.
Conditions were slightly cooler than yesterday initially, though still very warm and humid, but halfway through the session the ambient temperature sidled up to 30 degrees Celsius as the track reached 35.
Toyotas Ricardo Zonta and Jordans Nicolas Kiesa led the cars out, and the Brazilian was soon setting the pace as usual on a Friday, with 1m 22.567s. Later de la Rosa carved that down to 1m 20.201s and nobody bettered that at this early stage. For comparison, Rubens Barrichello took pole position for Ferrari last year with 1m 20.089s, and set the races fastest lap in 1m 21.046s, a speed of 159.891 mph. On this low downforce track the effects of 2005s aerodynamic restrictions are of course less apparent.
Behind de la Rosa, Webber lapped in 1m 21.816s, then came Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya on 1m 21.842s and 1m 22.078s respectively. Nick Heidfeld was also well up on 1m 22.351s ahead of Zonta (1m 22.567s), Takuma Sato (1m 22.577s), Schumacher Snr (1m 23.739s) and the Red Bulls of David Coulthard and Vitantonio Liuzzi (1m 24.001s and 1m 24.166s respectively). Rubens Barrichellos final lap yielded 11th fastest 1m 24.196s. The rest didnt better 1m 25s. They were led by Tiago Monteiro in the latest Jordan EJ15B on 1m 25.134s, then Kiesa with 1m 25.374s, Christijan Albers (1m 25.497s), Narain Karthikeyan (1m 25.611s in the older Jordan), Robert Doornbos (1m 25.853s) and the Dutchmans Friday partner Enrico Toccacelo (1m 25.896s).
Running wide in the chicanes is always a favourite pastime here, and this mornings miscreants included Kiesa, Monteiro and Toccacelo. Kiesa also had a moment running wide in Parabolica. Even Michael Schumacher featured, missing the first chicane on his first flying lap of the day.