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Wet start to Belgian race weekend 09 Sep 2005

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 9 September 2005 (L to R): Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Red Bull Racing with Christian Klien (AUT) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 9 September 2005 A Michelin engineer studies the damaged BMW Williams FW27 of Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) .
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 9 September 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2005 in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 9 September 2005 Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota TF105.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 9 September 2005

You won’t be surprised to know that it rained in Spa on Friday morning. A soaking track greeted GP2 practice and when the Formula One cars came out at 11am plenty of damp patches remained.

Since it took a while for these to dry not many people ventured out until the final 10 minutes, but that was all the time it took Kimi Raikkonen to stamp his authority. The Finn’s last of five laps stopped the clock in 1m 48.206s, beating McLaren team mate Alexander Wurz by 0.010s.

Behind them Giancarlo Fisichella boosted Renault’s hopes with 1m 48.619s in his six laps, but team mate Fernando Alonso didn’t even bother to go out after being delayed by an oil system problem.

Ricardo Zonta, like Wurz, ran all morning and ended up fourth for Toyota on 1m 49.445s. Mark Webber came out late and was fifth on 1m 49.692s, but new Williams team mate Antionio Pizzonia lapped in 1m 53.535s for 16th overall before sliding off the road and hitting a tyre wall at Fagnes. Jenson Button was close to Webber in the BAR on 1m 49.890s, and then came Jarno Trulli’s Toyota on 1m 50.542s. Michael Schumacher led his younger brother in eighth place for Ferrari, their respective laps being 1m 50.564s and 1m 50.820s.

In 10th place was Vitantonio Liuzzi, the sole Red Bull driver to do more than an installation lap. In fact, when the track was still damp the Italian was one of the stars as he set the temporary fastest lap ahead of Wurz and Zonta, and his eventual best was 1m 50.951s.

Takuma Sato was 11th with 1m 51.003s for BAR, which just edged out Rubens Barrichello on 1m 51.177s. Next up were the Saubers of Jacques Villeneuve (1m 52.173s) and Felipe Massa (1m 52.236s), then there was a gap to Narain Karthikeyan who took the Jordan EJ15B round in 1m 53.118s. Behind Pizzonia, Christijan Albers had a spin at Rivage before lapping in 1m 53.607s, then there was a further gap to Nicolas Kiesa (1m 54.437s) and 2004 F3000 winner Robert Doornbos (1m 54.973s). Tiago Monteiro took his Jordan round in 1m 55.174s, and the last timed runner was Enrico Toccacelo, who lapped the third Minardi in 2m 02.502s before spinning into the tyre wall at Rivage.

Like Alonso, Juan Pablo Montoya did not venture out. That was because his mechanics were carrying out a precautionary engine change on his McLaren due to a suspected problem with the camshaft surface treatment. As he was due to use a new engine here anyway, and did no running, the Colombian will not incur a grid penalty for the change.