Honda head Friday in Malaysia 17 Mar 2006
Anthony Davidson redeemed himself this afternoon by setting the fastest practice time for Honda just as the session ended. Earlier, third driver Davidson had spun in slippery Turn 14, but once his RA106 had been brought back to the pits he was able to resume running to slip in the 1m 35.041s lap that ousted former pacesetter, Williams counterpart Alexander Wurz.
This slightly disjointed session began with Kimi Raikkonen pushing his McLaren round in 1m 36.132s, a time on which he did not bother to improve. Then Fernando Alonso posted 1m 35.851s for Renault, and that remained the marker for much of the session until Wurz took his FW28 around in 1m 35.388s.
Alonso subsequently improved his time to 1m 35.806s to take third place, ahead of Felipe Massa on 1m 35.924s for Ferrari. Raikkonens time held up for fifth, then came Giancarlo Fisichella on 1m 36.182s, Michael Schumacher on 1m 36.617s, and Jenson Button on 1m 36.661s.
Fridays are all about tyre evaluation and set-up work, so these times should not be taken too seriously.
Jacques Villeneuve enjoyed a trouble-free day for ninth best time in his BMW Sauber, lapping in 1m 37.045s. Rubens Barrichello completed the top 10 with 1m 37.270s for Honda.
Behind them, the times were close, with another nine drivers lapping below 1m 38s. Jarno Trulli was the fastest of them with 1m 37.317s for Toyota, followed by Nick Heidfeld (1m 37.418s), Robert Kubica (1m 37.457s), Juan Pablo Montoya (1m 37.463s), Tonio Liuzzi (1m 37.590s), David Coulthard (1m 37.603s), Ralf Schumacher (1m 37.695s), Neel Jani (1m 37.831s) and Scott Speed (1m 37.926s).
Montoya caused some amusement when his McLaren stopped at the end of the pit lane, just across the exit line. Under the regulations he could not move it backwards under its own power, and since he was effectively on the race track, only he was allowed to move it back into pit lane. Grabbing a jack, the Colombian hauled the car back until his pit crew were able to finish the job for him. He got going again, but later spun in Turn 14.
Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg did the least number of laps for Williams, five and six respectively, and set the 20th and 21st fastest laps of 1m 38.081s and 1m 38.205s. Newcomer Giorgio Mondini continued his familiarisation with Midland to lap his M16 in 1m 38.256s, and then came Christian Klien on 1m 38.644s and Christijan Albers on 1m 38.918s. Robert Doornbos took his Red Bull round in 1m 39.105s, Tiago Monteiro his Midland in 1m 39.416s, and then there was a gap to Takuma Sato in the lead Super Aguri. He lapped that in 1m 41.549s, while team mate Yuji Ide was last in the sister SA05 in 1m 43.164s.
Now everyone has gathered their tyre and set-up data for further running on Saturday morning, and all of them have a much better idea what to expect from qualifying in the afternoon.