Formula 1 Insight

First Practice Session, Magny Cours
The weekend is nearly upon us and the teams have been out for the first practice session at Magny Cours (or Mangey Course, as I saw it described in a forum recently). And, on this showing, it seems that racing in Europe really does alter the pecking order.

Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari F2007

Ferrari are back at the front, this time with a rejuvenated Kimi Raikkonen leading the way (wonder what Montezemolo had to say to him when he visited...). Alonso's McLaren is next up but Hamilton was sidelined for a while when the engine electronics simulated a breakdown. Later in the session he managed to grab sixth.

There are big changes lower down the order, too. Toyota suddenly appeared near the top of the timesheets but then slipped a little towards the end, Trulli eventually winding up tenth and Ralf languishing in 17th. Both Williams were able to fight for top ten times, Rosberg taking a final 4th and Wurz 8th. Coulthard had a good final run in the Red Bull to steal 5th.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that the two most optimistic teams after last week's testing, Renault and Honda, performed weakly. Honda still struggle to keep up with their junior team, Super Aguri, and Renault were down where Ralf and the Spykers play.

It is very noticeable that the times are close, however. Third to thirteenth spots were all in the 1min. 16secs. bracket. F1 racing is a matter of thousandths of a second these days and the blink of an eye can be the difference between points and frustration. The full timesheet is here.

It is just the first session, of course, and things could change in the next day or two. But, on this showing, Ferrari are back, with half a second's advantage over McLaren. Maybe this season won't be the McLaren walk-over everyone has been expecting...


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