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Raikkonen pips Alonso in practice 24 Sep 2005

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 23 September 2005

Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time at Interlagos on Saturday morning, pushing his McLaren round in 1m 11.929s, but it was very close at the top, with Renault and BAR also in with a shout.

Right behind the Finn, fellow title contender Fernando Alonso lapped his updated Renault in 1m 12.110s, while Jenson Button’s enhanced BAR was third on 1m 12.148s. Right behind him was Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Renault on 1m 12.158s. Juan Pablo Montoya completed the top five for McLaren with 1m 12.292s.

It remains to be seen just how accurate a reflection of form these times are, as the Ferraris of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher were sixth and seventh on 1m 12.382s and 1m 12.453s respectively even though they team say they have done nothing to their specification since Belgium. Fuel loads may have varied between the top teams, so the true pecking order is still hard to define.

The Renaults set the pace in the first session, with Alonso just beating team mate Fisichella, 1m 12.738s to 1m 12.789s. Montoya was on a quick lap, having just worked down to 1m 13.050s, when he spun in Turn 12 right at the end. Things picked up quickly in the second session, when the fastest times were set.

Ralf Schumacher pushed up to eighth place for Toyota on 1m 12.509s, followed by Antonio Pizzonia for Williams on 1m 12.752s and Felipe Massa for Sauber on 1m 12.799s. Christian Klien was the final runner below 1m 13s, making up for yesterday’s shunt with 11th fastest time of 1m 12.811s. That left him just ahead of Red Bull team mate David Coulthard who took his RB01 round in 1m 13.199s.

Jarno Trulli’s Toyota was 13th on 1m 13.222s, then came Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro in the Jordans on 1m 13.242s and 1m 13.305s respectively. Both are likely to have been running light to record such times. Jacques Villeneuve was next with 1m 13.508s in his Sauber, followed by Takuma Sato who did not run with a light fuel load in his BAR on his way to 1m 13.817s. Mark Webber likewise did not get a light run in his Williams, which was sandwiched at the back in 19th place by the Minardis of Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos. The Australian’s best lap was 1m 14.114s, while the two Dutchmen did 1m 14.012s and 1m 14.595s respectively.

Just as a reminder, Rubens Barrichello was on pole here last year in 1m 10.646s.