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Vettel sparkles, but Ferrari shine on Friday 08 Sep 2006

Sebastian Vettel (GER) BMW Sauber Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 8 September 2006 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 8 September 2006 The Honda RA106 of Anthony Davidson (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team Third Driver returns to the pits after the engine blew.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 8 September 2006 Takuma Sato (JPN) Super Aguri F1 SA06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 8 September 2006 Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams FW28 Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 8 September 2006

As Honda are hit by further engine woes in Italy

Sebastian Vettel continued to set the pace at Monza on Friday afternoon, lapping his BMW Sauber in 1m 22.613s to displace the crowd favourites Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa in the Ferraris.

Vettel didn’t just keep up his reputation for speed on the track, but in the pits too, picking up another speeding fine in the pit lane as he did on his debut in Turkey.

BMW’s headline-grabbing run aside, the Ferraris were the class of the field all afternoon, their Bridgestone tyres giving them plentiful grip. Schumacher lapped in 1m 23.138s, Massa 1m 23.186s.

The closest anyone else got to them was Bridgestone-shod Alexander Wurz who wound his Williams round in 1m 23.414s for fourth.

Pedro de la Rosa was Michelin’s leading runner with 1m 23.970s for McLaren, which just edged out team mate Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn managed 1m 24.034s.

Nick Heidfeld was seventh in his first proper runs of the day for BMW Sauber, with 1m 24.330s, chased by Renault’s Fernando Alonso (1m 24.577s), Robert Kubica (1m 24.813s) in the final BMW, Franck Montagny (a low tanks, new tyres run to 1m 24.943s for Super Aguri) and Christijan Albers (1m 24.985s for Midland).

Next up was Jarno Trulli, with 1m 25.027s for Toyota, then Williams’ Nico Rosberg (1m 25.040s), Red Bull’s Christian Klien (1m 25.108s), Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 25.160s in the second Renault), Tiago Monteiro (1m 25.277s for Midland), Ralf Schumacher (1m 25.316s) in the second Toyota and the Red Bull of David Coulthard (1m 25.318s).

Incredibly, Anthony Davidson suffered another Honda engine failure, this time when the replacement unit for this morning’s disaster went up in flames after eight laps. At the time the Englishman had been second fastest behind Alex Wurz, with a lap of 1m 25.356s, which ultimately left him only 19th in the line-up. As a result, neither Rubens Barrichello nor Jenson Button ventured out at all.

The final runners came in the order: Mark Webber (1m 25.500s for Williams), Giorgio Mondini (1m 25.586s in the third Midland), the Toro Rosso trio of Tonio Liuzzi (1m 25.707s), Scott Speed (1m 25.757s) and Neel Jani (1m 25.878s), Roberts Doornbos (1m 26.058s for Red Bull), and Takuma Sato and Sakon Yamamoto (1m 26.118s and 1m 26.705s for Super Aguri).

There were plenty of minor incidents, too. Alonso ran very wide in the second Lesmo, Wurz spun in the second chicane, while Sato, Yamamoto, Rosberg, Mondini and Klien had trouble with the first, and Speed and Yamamoto also fell foul of the second chicane exit.

These times may be the last ones established on a dry track, if the predicted storms really do arrive on Saturday. Right now, Bridgestone and Ferrari are looking pretty strong.