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Saturday practice - McLaren dominate as Raikkonen crashes 08 Sep 2007

Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2007 The Ferrari F2007 of Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari is recovered to the pits after his large accident during morning practice.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2007 Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams FW29.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2007 Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2007

McLaren headed the times again at Monza this morning, in a final practice session dramatised by a heavy accident for Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Fernando Alonso ended up fastest on 1m 22.054s, just ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton, with 1m 22.200s. Felipe Massa in the surviving Ferrari was third, on 1m 22.615s and Nick Heidfeld moved BMW Sauber into contention with the fourth fastest time of 1m 22.855s. He was supported by team mate Robert Kubica on 1m 23.287s, and the Pole was in turn chased by the two Williams. Nico Rosberg lapped in 1m 23.454s, Alex Wurz in 1m 23.596s.

Raikkonen’s accident was the big talking point.

The Finn was very lucky to escape after his Ferrari suddenly snapped to the right under initial braking for the Ascari chicane, and then speared hard into the outer wall before crashing very heavily into the tyre wall on the entry to the corner. The F2007 was buried deep in the tyres, but Raikkonen calmly stepped from the cockpit, walked over the tyre wall and headed back to the pits waving away the proffered help of the marshals.

Damage to the chassis is as yet unknown, as is the precise cause of the accident. His time up to that point was 1m 24.442s, which left him down in 20th place.

Jarno Trulli recorded 1m 23.672s for Toyota, which Heikki Kovalainen matched in the Renault. Then came Red Bull’s Mark Webber on 1m 23.708s, Jenson Button’s and Rubens Barrichello’s Hondas on 1m 23.803s and 1m 23.830s respectively, Sebastian Vettel on 1m 23.853s in the Toro Rosso, the second Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella on 1m 23.877s and Anthony Davidson on 1m 23.942s for Super Aguri.

The 1m 24s were led by Davidson’s team mate Takuma Sato and Red Bull’s David Coulthard, on 1m 24.022s and 1m 24.055s respectively, ahead of Ralf Schumacher (the only driver actually to spin in the session), on 1m 24.167s for Toyota. Tonio Liuzzi continued to struggle with his Toro Rosso for 1m 24.208s, then came Raikkonen and the improved Spykers, which Adrian Sutil lapped in 1m 24.736s and Sakon Yamamoto in 1m 24.943s.

Ferrari are now frantically rebuilding Raikkonen’s car while trying to figure out what went wrong, and the odds are currently favouring McLaren prior to qualifying.