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Raikkonen sets early Hungary pace 04 Aug 2006

McLaren Mercedes MP4/21 practise pitstops.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Budapest, Hungary, 3 August 2006

Practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix got off to a slow start on Friday morning. The Hungaroring was still wet after overnight rain when the GP2 cars went out for their practice session, but almost completely dry by the time the Formula One machines emerged at 11 am local time.

In uncharacteristically overcast conditions, Anthony Davidson and Alex Wurz slugged it out for Honda and Williams, with laps of 1m 22.396s and 1m 22.961s respectively, while Michael Schumacher limbered up with 1m 23.166s for Ferrari.

Right at the end Kimi Raikkonen banged in a 1m 22.805s to grab second behind Davidson before being displaced as Schumacher improved to 1m 22.499s. Raikkonen had the last laugh, however, as a final effort of 1m 21.624s left him top of the timing screens. Davidson and Schumacher were thus second and third.

Pedro de la Rosa was fourth in the second McLaren with 1m 22.730s, then came Wurz on 1m 22.941s and the Hondas of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button on 1m 23.553s and 1m 23.659s respectively. Red Bull’s Robert Doornbos (1m 23.999s), Toyota’s Jarno Trulli (1m 24.620s) and Midland third man Markus Winkelhock (1m 25.194s) completed the top 10.

Neel Jani headed the Toro Rosso trio with 1m 25.424s (surviving one overcooking moment in Turn 1), ahead of Tonio Liuzzi (1m 25.477s) and Scott Speed (1m 26.678s). Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro were 14th and 15th for Midland with 1m 26.680s and 1m 27.321s respectively, ahead of Super Aguri’s Takuma Sato (1m 29.765s), Ralf Schumacher (1m 30.110s) in the Toyota and the second Aguri of Sakon Yamamoto (1m 30.353s).

The other incidents saw Albers and Winkelhock sliding briefly off the road, together with Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella who went off in Turn 4 on his one lap. Fisichella and team mate Fernando Alonso did only installation laps, as did the Red Bulls of David Coulthard and Christian Klien. Neither of the BMW Saubers ventured out (for once on a Friday morning Robert Kubica stayed in the garage), nor did Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg in their Williams, or Felipe Massa in the Ferrari.

Renault have announced that they will not, after all, run their mass dampers this weekend.