Practice One - first blood to Ferrari in Japan 28 Sep 2007
Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa set the fastest practice times as teams and drivers began the process of acclimatising themselves to Fuji International Speedway on Friday morning.
Right at the end of the hour and a half session, the Finn banged in a lap of 1m 19.119s to go 0.379s faster than his Brazilian team mate, who had set the pace for much of the morning.
Behind them, Fernando Alonso jumped Lewis Hamilton for third for McLaren. The Spaniard lapped in 1m 19.667s, while Hamiltons chance of improving on 1m 19.807s was lost to traffic.
Everyone has thus far been very impressed with the new home of the Japanese Grand Prix, not just in terms of layout and facilities but also the way in which the cars behave. With minimal downforce thus far to try and maximise terminal velocity along the mile-long front straight, all of the cars are sliding around dramatically over the remainder of the lap.
Nico Rosberg was fifth for Williams with 1m 20.058s, but there is concern that he may have replaced his race-intended Toyota V8. Behind the German, Robert Kubica for BMW Sauber (1m 20.297s), Alex Wurz for Williams (1m 20.411s), Jarno Trulli for Toyota (1m 20.483s), Adrian Sutil for Spyker (1m 20.516s) and Anthony Davidson for Super Aguri (1m 20.601s) completed a cosmopolitan top 10.
Rubens Barrichello led the Honda challenge with 11th fastest time of 1m 20.686s, edging out Heikki Kovalainens Renault (1m 20.718s), Nick Heidfelds BMW Sauber (1m 20.728s), Tonio Liuzzis Toro Rosso (1m 20.808s), Ralf Schumachers Toyota (which he spun in Turn Six before recording 1m 20.828s) and Giancarlo Fisichellas Renault (1m 20.851s).
Local hero Takuma Sato was only 17th in his Super Aguri with 1m 21.186s, then came Mark Webber who lost a duct from his Red Bull on his way to 1m 21.437s, Jenson Button (1m 21.541s), and Sebastian Vettel (who spent time by the side of the road when his Toro Rosso stopped, then got going again for a lap of 1m 21.854s).
David Coulthard had problems which restricted his Red Bull to 1m 22.436s for 21st fastest time, and the other home star, Sakon Yamamoto, was kept down to 1m 22.902s when his Spyker rolled to a halt early on in Turn Four.