Fisichella tops free practice times for Japanese GP
The Italian topped the times for Renault ahead of his Ferrari rival Felipe Massa at the end of Friday's free practice session for the Japanese GP.india Updated: Oct 06, 2006 14:45 IST
Italian Giancarlo Fisichella topped the times for Renault ahead of his Ferrari rival Brazilian Felipe Massa at the end of Friday's free practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix.
On a day of changing weather conditions, with the track drying throughout the second hour, both championship contenders Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso left their teammates to do their jobs, but clocked competitive times.
Retirement-bound seven-times champion Schumacher was third-fastest and defending champion Alonso fourth when the session ended.
Fisichella's best time was one minute and 34.337 seconds.
Once again the session began in wet conditions, but unlike the morning's hour the track dried out, and it remained dry as the temperature rose.
At the start, the track temperature was 21 and the air was 24 degrees Celsius, but 15 minutes from the end, it had risen to 22 and 25 respectively.
There was also much more for the drenched fans to enjoy as the teams sent out more cars and drivers.
After only five minutes, Ralf Schumacher of Germany topped the times in his Toyota, ahead of Briton Anthony Davidson for Honda, but within minutes this was changed.
Davidson, as he had done earlier, went top frequently with Italian Giancarlo Fisichella for Renault also clocking a fastest time 20 minutes into the session.
Davidson responded in the closing stages with a lap in one minute and 40.986 seconds to top Fisichella and German teenager Sebastian Vettel of BMW Sauber.
With 10 minutes remaining German Michael Ammermuller in his Red Bull Ferrari went ahead, but his lap was immediately surpassed by Michael Schumacher on his first flying run as Ferrari went out on dry tyres in the closing minutes.
This signalled that the final part of the session was virtually a new contest as the field responded to the welcome dry conditions at last.
Fisichella, Alonso and Briton Jenson Button for Honda all clocked faster times than Schumacher as the leaders finally treated the session as serious business.
When the flag dropped to end the hour, the session ended with Schumacher on track but unable to improve on the leading times set by Fisichella or Massa as the sun at last came out.