Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari gave a glimpse of their determination to resume authority in this year's Formula 1 World Championship by destroying the competition in first free practice for the Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park.

Indeed, while the final order produced few surprises, the gaps that separate the drivers by contrast certainly will, Raikkonen a hefty four tenths up on team-mate Felipe Massa, but most significantly, 1.2secs faster than Fernando Alonso in third position.

Although much still depends on fuel loads and strategies, it is a margin that is likely to cause a few headaches at McLaren, already battling with the notion that Ferrari were expected to come to Turkey with the stronger package anyway.

Raikkonen himself was rarely off the top of the timesheets, gradually chipping away at his fastest time before producing the only lap to dip below 1min 28secs on his penultimate attempt.

Indeed, the circuit, which hasn't been used much this year, was typically dusty at first, causing a number of drivers, Raikkonen included, to push to the circuit's outer limits and thank the designers who included copious amounts of run-off space.

Last year's winner Massa had no problems in second place though, further indication that Ferrari will be the team to beat over the course of the weekend. Alonso and sparring partner Lewis Hamilton were third and fourth fastest, although the Brit completed just ten laps and spent much of the session with McLaren mechanics hovering over his car after it developed a problem.

Away from the top four, Renault had a promising start to the weekend, Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella producing the fifth and eighth fastest times, with Nico Rosberg and Ralf Schumacher in their leading Williams and Toyota entries filling the spaces in between.

BMW, complete with the newly re-signed Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, were a modest ninth and eleventh fastest, while Jarno Trulli ensured both Toyotas would feature inside the top ten in tenth.

Anthony Davidson led the 'other' British chargers in 12th, 13th and 14th, David Coulthard and Jenson Button just marginally behind the Super Aguri, ahead of Rubens Barrichello in the second - and still struggling - Honda.

Vitantonio Liuzzi will be somewhat satisfied with 16th fastest, crucially seven tenths up on Sebastian Vettel, who was only 20th best. Between them sit Takuma Sato, Alex Wurz and Mark Webber.

Bringing up the rear again were Spyker, but while they will have to contend with not racing the B-specification car this weekend after it failed a crash test, the fact that Adrian Sutil is only a tenth behind Vettel will give the Dutch team a certain amount of confidence that they can build on their breakthrough Hungarian Grand Prix. Sakon Yamamoto however was eight tenths further back in last.

To view the full first free practice times for the Turkish Grand Prix click here

 

Comments

Loading Comments...