Practice Two - Hamilton shows his class 19 Oct 2007
McLarens Lewis Hamilton might be an Interlagos rookie, but that didnt stop him from setting the fastest time in Fridays second practice session. Where it was wet this morning, this afternoon it was greasy but with a dry line initially, and pretty much dry by the end of the hour-and-a-half session.
On Bridgestones harder compound Hamilton had been third fastest with 1m 13.683s, but once he switched to the softer rubber he slammed in a lap of 1m 12.767s, not far off Michael Schumachers fastest lap of 1m 12.162s set in better conditions in last years race.
At the end team mate Fernando Alonso and Ferraris Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen all came back at him, but the lap withstood their attacks. Alonso got closest, with 1m 12.889s, and then inadvertently blocked Raikkonens penultimate try. The Finn ended up with 1m 13.112s and probably wasnt delighted, while Massa took third with 1m 13.075s. Suffice to say it will be tight at the top Saturday afternoon in qualifying.
It was thus a good day for Hamilton, but there is a hair on the cake; this morning McLaren accidentally contravened Article 25.3 of the 2007 Formula One sporting regulations. These state that in the first two practice sessions a driver may use one set of wet tyres and one set of extreme-wets. Somehow McLaren contrived to send him out during his 10-lap run on two sets of wets. The stewards will meet later to discuss potential penalties, and Jenson Button at Honda and Takuma Sato at Super Aguri will also be sailing the same boat. It is likely that each will lose a set of tyres on Saturday.
For much of the session the BMW Saubers of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld were in the hunt, but in the dying minutes Giancarlo Fisichella thrust his Renault up to fifth on 1m 13.549s to push Kubica back a place with his once-fastest time of 1m 13.587s. Then Nico Rosberg and impressive rookie Kazuki Nakajima pushed their Williams up to seventh and eighth on 1m 13.655s and 1m 13.664s respectively. With David Coulthard taking ninth for Red Bull in 1m 13.706s, Heidfeld found his 1m 13.785s ultimately only good enough for 10th.
Ralf Schumacher was again strong for Toyota with 1m 13.829s ahead of Renaults Heikki Kovalainen (1m 13.879s), the Hondas of Rubens Barrichello and Button (1m 13.892s and 1m 14.095s), Toro Rossos Tonio Liuzzi (1m 14.152s), Toyotas Jarno Trulli (1m 14.179s), Toro Rossos Sebastian Vettel (1m 14.409s), the Super Aguris of Sato (1m 14.431s) and Anthony Davidson (1m 14.477s) and Red Bulls Mark Webber (1m 14.543s). At the back, spinner Adrian Sutil lapped his Spyker in 1m 15.095s for 21st, with team mate Sakon Yamamoto on 1m 15.715s.