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Schumacher makes his mark in final practice 26 Aug 2006

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 25 August 2006

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher staked his claim to the fastest time in Turkey in no uncertain terms this morning, with a lap of 1m 27.203s which left the Renaults of Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella a trifle breathless in his wake. The world champion lapped in 1m 27.924s and the Italian in 1m 27.963s. Robert Kubica leapt up to join them right at the end for BMW Sauber, with 1m 27.964s.

Just outside this aces quartet, Nick Heidfeld took the second BMW Sauber round in 1m 28.151s to head Honda’s Jenson Button (1m 28.190s), Felipe Massa in the Ferrari (1m 28.266s), Rubens Barrichello for Honda (1m 28.359s), McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen (1m 28.368s), Christian Klien in the Red Bull (1m 28.830s), Toyota’s Jarno Trulli (1m 28.861s) and Toro Rosso’s Scott Speed (1m 28.861s).

There were plenty of incidents, with Vitantonio Liuzzi in the second Toro Rosso, Klien, Fisichella, Midland’s Tiago Monteiro, Schumacher, Heidfeld, Mark Webber in the Williams, Trulli, Raikkonen, Red Bull’s David Coulthard and Button all having off-track moments. Some of them went off more than once, but nobody did any damage.

Pedro de la Rosa was 13th for McLaren with 1m 29.034s, chased by Webber (1m 29.069s), Nico Rosberg in the Williams (1m 29.176s), Coulthard (1m 29.357s), Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher (1m 29.374s), Liuzzi (1m 29.426s, Midland’s Christijan Albers (1m 29.668s), Sakon Yamamoto for Super Aguri (1m 29.881s) and Monteiro (1m 29.915s). Takuma Sato brought up the back of the field with 1m 30.151s in the second Super Aguri.

The scene is thus set for a great fight in qualifying between Ferrari and Renault, while McLaren can be expected to be close to them, too.