Alonso keeps Schumacher at bay 21 Apr 2006
Michael Schumacher and Ferrari remained a threat this afternoon at Imola, during the second practice session for the San Marino Grand Prix. But a combination of traffic - and Fernando Alonso - kept the German in second place at the end of the hour-long session.
The lap after he slid across the grass at the Variante Alta chicane, Alonso hustled his Renault round in 1m 25.043s, and Schumachers response fell short at 1m 25.371s. Nevertheless, Michael was happy with progress, suggesting that Ferrari will be strong contenders all weekend on their home ground. Alonso, meanwhile, insisted there was still plenty more to come from the R26
Felipe Massa was half a second off his Ferrari team leader with 1m 25.879s, but was also separated from him by Robert Kubica, who took his BMW Sauber round in 1m 25.421s, and Anthony Davidson who lapped his Honda in 1m 25.699s. Both Friday drivers had moments: Kubica spun at Tosa and Davidson went off without harm at Piratella.
Giancarlo Fisichella was sixth on 1m 25.991s with his new B-spec Renault V8, then came a satisfied Jarno Trulli on 1m 26.029s for Toyota, Alex Wurz in the Williams with 1m 26.328s, Juan Pablo Montoyas McLaren on 1m 26.387s and Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber on 1m 26.837s, the German complaining of both a nervous car and a nervous stomach.
Jenson Button was 11th for Honda on 1m 26.427s, followed by Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 26.500s, the Finn going grass-cutting at one stage in his McLaren. Rubens Barrichello (1m 26.653s), Christijan Albers (1m 26.783s), Jacques Villeneuve (1m 26.797s), Robert Doornbos (1m 26.917s after a spin in the last corner) and Nico Rosberg (1m 26.989s) completed the runners below 1m 27s.
Vitantonio Liuzzi pushed his Toro Rosso to 1m 27.128s, with Mark Webber joining him on 1m 27.157s despite going out for Williams with only seven minutes of the session left. Neither David Coulthard nor Christian Klien went for quick laps in their Red Bulls; the Scot was 20th with 1m 27.503s, the Austrian 24th with 1m 27.990s. Between them came Tiago Monteiro (1m 27.544s), Ralf Schumacher (1m 27.639s), who got limited running due to electronic problems on his Toyota, and Scott Speed (1m 27.719s). Neel Jani and Giorgio Mondini were 25th and 26th respectively for Midland on 1m 28.361s and 1m 28.833s, leaving the Super Aguris at the back. Takuma Sato lapped his in 1m 29.870s, Yuji Ide in 1m 31.042s. Sato was another off-roader, in Rivazza.
As the times reveal, the track was still dirty and lacking in grip. Last year Kimi Raikkonen took pole position from the then two-part qualifying session, with 1m 19.886s in Q1 and 1m 22.994s in Q2.