Klien away in final German practice 29 Jul 2006
An unusual session here this morning saw Christian Klien set the fastest time in the last hour-long session of practice, taking his Red Bull RB2 round in 1m 15.661s and then 1m 15.628s to depose long-time pacesetter Felipe Massa. The Austrian had a couple of off-track adventures before taking control, and Massa was then further demoted as Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello pushed their Hondas ahead of his Ferrari. The Briton lapped in 1m 15.651s, the Brazilian 1m 15.963s. Massas best was 1m 15.977s.
David Coulthard was next up, just failing to join Klien in the 1m 15s bracket with 1m 16.080s, ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 16.130s), Nick Heidfeld (1m 16.167s), Kimi Raikkonen (1m 218s), Michael Schumacher (1m 16.307s) and Pedro de la Rosa (1m 16.322s).
Schumacher was on a quick lap which yielded the fastest times in the first two sectors, but had to back off in the third after Sakon Yamamoto spun his Super Aguri exiting the last corner, Turn 17, and backed it into the wall.
It was another so-so session for Fernando Alonso who, like Fisichella, was running his Renault R26 without the teams controversial mass damping after the FIA indicated its intention to the teams to appeal their own stewards Friday ruling that the system of vertical movement control is legal. The Spaniard was 11th on 1m 16.427s, ahead of Tonio Liuzzi (1m 16.532s), Scott Speed (1m 16.600s), Nico Rosberg (1m 16.690s) and Mark Webber (1m 16.834s). The Australian spun his Williams in Turn 6 at one stage.
It was a bad morning for Toyota, with Ralf Schumacher only 16th on 1m 17.419s and Jarno Trulli blowing an engine as he crossed the start-finish line to start his first flying lap. He is subsequently expected to drop 10 places on the grid for Sunday's race as penalty for a fresh V8.
Jacques Villeneuve was only 17th for BMW Sauber on 1m 17.740s. He was chased by Tiago Monteiro (1m 17.793s), Yamamoto (1m 18.643s), Takuma Sato (1m 18.668s) and Christijan Albers (1m 19.254s. Yamamotos accident was a particular shame as the Japanese rookie had done well to put his SA06 ahead of experienced team mate Satos sister car. If the team cannot repair the damage ahead of qualifying then Yamamoto will be forced to start in the older spare car.
Quite what all these times mean will become clearer in qualifying, which should be run in hot but otherwise perfect conditions.