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Hamilton tops disrupted Saturday practice 09 Jun 2007

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2007

McLaren retained their grip in the final practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on Saturday morning, but this time it was Lewis Hamilton who was quickest with a lap of 1m 16.071s.

In what would become a disrupted session in which 17 minutes were lost after a suspected engine failure in Heikki Kovalainen’s Renault had left a major oil slick on the run down to the final corner, Kimi Raikkonen had one off-course moment as he lined his Ferrari up in second place with 1m 16.459s.

Behind them, Fernando Alonso had a major twitch in the final corner on Kovalainen’s oil, before the session was temporarily red flagged. This time the Spaniard, Friday’s pacesetter, had to be content with the third-fastest lap of 1m 16.465s. Felipe Massa completed the usual dominant quartet with 1m 16.666s.

A surprise fifth was Takuma Sato, doubtless on low fuel in his Super Aguri after a lap of 1m 16.864s, and Nico Rosberg was once again fleet for Williams with 1m 16.975s.

Mark Webber was next up in seventh, taking his repaired Red Bull RB3 round in 1m 17.071s, then came Rubens Barrichello in the improving Honda on 1m 17.329s, David Coulthard in the second RB3 (who survived a very heavy landing over the final corner chicane having already recorded 1m 17.391s). Anthony Davidson completed the top 10 for Super Aguri, also with 1m 17.391s, ahead of Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 17.454s), Honda’s Jenson Button (1m 17.468s) and BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica (1m 17.601s).

At Toyota, both drivers were under orders to avoid the destructive kerb in Turn Eight following yesterday’s right front suspension failures (not, incidentally, caused by Trulli hitting a wall, it transpired, but by a weakness on the components). The Italian was 14th on 1m 17.624s, Ralf Schumacher 16th on 1m 17.748s. They sandwiched Scott Speed who took his repaired Toro Rosso round in 1m 17.742s, and his team mate, Tonio Liuzzi, was 17th in 1m 17.799s.

Adrian Sutil was the faster Spyker runner, with 1m 18.270s, while an engine fire kept BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld down in 19th with 1m 18.428s. Alex Wurz also had problems on his way to 1m 18.489s for Williams, then came the hapless Kovalainen on 1m 18.758s and, finally, Christijan Albers with 1m 18.933s in the second Spyker.

Thus the scene is set for qualifying, which as expected will be a battle between McLaren and Ferrari.