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Ferrari the team to beat in final Indy practice 01 Jul 2006

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 248 F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 30 June 2006

Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa topped the practice times in Indianapolis this morning, underlining the former’s confidence in Ferrari’s American form. The former champion had another spin, this time in Turn 7, on his way to fastest time of 1m 10.760s, while Massa backed him with 1m 11.039s. It remains to be seen what fuel level either of them was running in relation to the opposition, but this was a big fillip for the Scuderia.

Giancarlo Fisichella got closest to the red car with 1m 11.940s for Renault, Fernando Alonso lapping his R26 in 1m 12.202s for sixth. The Italian had a grassy moment after overshooting Turn 1. They were separated by Nick Heidfeld, who pushed his BMW Sauber round in 1m 12.049s, and Rubens Barrichello, who continued Honda’s upturn with 1m 12.149s. Jenson Button was not far behind on 1m 12.269s. Likewise, BMW Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve chased his team mate with a lap of 1m 12.327s.

The McLarens were ninth and 10th, with Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 12.569s and Juan Pablo Montoya on 1m 12.592s. The Colombian had an off-course moment in Turn 9. Tonio Liuzzi chased them with 1m 12.675s for Toro Rosso, ahead of Mark Webber’s Williams (1m 12.904s), Tiago Monteiro’s Midland (1m 12.913s), the Toyotas of Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher (1m 13.091s and 1m 13.101s respectively). Scott Speed was right with the latter with 1m 13.103s for Toro Rosso, then came Christian Klien for Red Bull on 1m 13.113s, Christijan Albers for Midland on 1m 13.172s, Nico Rosberg for Williams on 1m 13.230s and David Coulthard for Red Bull on 1m 13.364s. Takuma Sato again ran strongly for Super Aguri with a best lap of 1m 13.806s. Franck Montagny lapped in 1m 14.454s for 22nd and last time.

Overall, it’s an interesting spread of times. Whether it is a true reflection of what we can expect from qualifying remains to be seen.