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Mixed fortunes for Williams in first practice 28 Jul 2006

Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams FW28 Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 30 June 2006

There was good news and bad for Williams in opening practice at Hockenheim this morning. Alex Wurz set the fastest time of 1m 16.349s in his FW28. But Nico Rosberg crashed his in Turn 2 after making a mistake under braking, inflicting a fair bit of damage.

Wurz’s lap compares with Kimi Raikkonen’s 2005 pole time of 1m 14.320s, and track conditions were pretty slippery. Several drivers had off-track moments in this morning’s first GP2 practice, and clearly the surface was still pretty ‘green’. Robert Doornbos spun twice, in Turns 6 and 1, Neel Jani slid wide in Turn 6, and Nick Heidfeld went off in Turn 2. Rosberg was the only one to sustain damage.

Anthony Davidson, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were all well up the order for Honda. Davidson was second fastest with 1m 16.523s, while Button and Barrichello went out late for laps of 1m 17.439s and 1m 18.085s, which left them fourth and sixth respectively. That other Friday flier, Robert Kubica, was also well up for BMW Sauber, with third fastest time of 1m 17.343s.

Doornbos’ best with his Red Bull was 1m 17.825s, while Fernando Alonso ventured out briefly for seventh fastest 1m 18.328s in a Renault that can, thanks to a new edict from the stewards, run with its controversial mass damper after all. Team mate Giancarlo Fisichella lapped his similar car in 1m 18.664s for ninth. In between them was Toro Rosso’s Neel Jani on 1m 18.539s.

David Coulthard was 10th for Red Bull with 1m 18.795s, ahead of Markus Winkelhock who returned to Friday test duties for Midland and was their fastest runner. The German lapped in 1m 18.964s to head Jacques Villeneuve (1m 18.972s), Tonio Liuzzi (1m 19.214s), Nick Heidfeld (1m 19.507s) and Takuma Sato, who lapped the new Super Aguri SA06 in en encouraging 1m 20.102s.

Christijan Albers was 16th for Midland with 1m 20.132s before his M16 expired in a cloud of smoke in Turn 1. Tiago Monteiro was 17th with 1m 20.575s, ahead of Scott Speed (1m 20.950s), race debutant Sakon Yamamoto (1m 21.218s in the second new Super Aguri) and Rosberg (who only managed 1m 34.942s before his off).

Jarno Trulli, Ralf Schumacher, Christian Klien, Pedro de la Rosa and Kimi Raikkonen only did installation laps, while Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Mark Webber didn’t go out at all.