Toyota head silver trio as champion crashes out
Ricardo Zonta stole McLarens thunder at Monza on Friday afternoon by setting the fastest lap of second practice in 1m 20.531s, but with the three MP4-20s comfortably outpacing their principal opposition few doubt that the silver arrows remain the cars to beat, as Pedro de Rosas morning best of 1m 20.201s remained unchallenged.
After 20 minutes they were first, second and third, but Zontas late run for Toyota opened up a one-second margin for the Japanese team. Juan Pablo Montoya lapped in 1m 21.583s, Kimi Raikkonen in 1m 21.735s and de la Rosa in 1m 21.922s, the Spaniard spinning briefly in Parabolica and then stopping with transmission problems with 12 minutes remaining.
Behind them Williams continued their morning form with Mark Webber fifth on 1m 22.032s and Nick Heidfeld chasing him with 1m 22.107s. Then came Vitantonio Liuzzi, who pushed his Red Bull to a strong lap of 1m 22.253s to head Jarno Trulli (1m 22.278s), and the Renaults of Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso. The Italian lapped in 1m 22.440s, the Spaniard in 1m 22.594s. Between them they did only 21 laps.
Christian Klien was 11th in the second race Red Bull, which he lapped in 1m 22.600s, then came Michael Schumacher who took his Ferrari round in 1m 22.749s before losing grip in Parabolica and spinning backwards into the outer tyre wall. The F2005 was craned away with damaged right rear suspension. With team mate Rubens Barrichello only 16th on 1m 23.213s, this was not an auspicious afternoon for the Scuderia on their home ground.
Felipe Massa was right behind his 2006 team mate after pushing his Sauber round in 1m 23.052s, and team partner Jacques Villeneuve was 15th on 1m 23.208s. Ralf Schumacher sat between them with 1m 23.126s for Toyota, his afternoon including a trip over the Ascari chicane.
Behind Barrichello, Takuma Sato was again the faster BAR with a lap of 1m 23.223s which edged out Jenson Buttons 1m 23.415s. David Coulthard was 19th on 1m 23.506s, and Tiago Monteiro completed a promising debut for the Jordan EJ15B by taking the sole model to 1m 23.994s to contain the Minardi challenge. Only just behind him, however, was team mate Narain Karthikeyan in the older EJ15 with 1m 24.202s.
Paul Stoddarts Minardi drivers were 22nd and 23rd as Robert Doornbos edged out Christijan Albers with 1m 24.233s to 1m 24.264s. Enrico Toccacelo was the final timed runner, with 1m 25.245s, as Jordans Nicolas Kiesa spun in Parabolica on his first flying lap and could not restart.
For comparison purposes, pole position last year fell to Rubens Barrichellos Ferrari in 1m 20.089s.