Grand Prix Special, Spain – Practice, Full Resultsby Ed Foster on 25th April 2008
So the European season has begun. Almost all 22 cars completed the two Friday practices without incident and the Ferraris look like they are the pace setters at the moment. The Scuderia occupied the top two spots in the opening practice and were just under half a second quicker than Hamilton. Massa managed (after I had said that his 'moments' would become less frequent from Bahrain onwards) to spin twice, once at the chicane on his flying lap and then on the exit of turn 8 later on in the first practice.
The most interesting part of the two opening practice sessions? Well in the first, a second covered the first 4 cars and in the second, it covered a quite remarkable 12 cars. Indeed, if you ignore the Super Aguris, all the cars were within two seconds of Räikkönen’s fastest time. It may surprise you even more that in the second Friday practice in the French Grand Prix last year, the top 15 cars set times within 1 second of each other. And they say Formula 1 isn't interesting...
On the subject of Super Aguris, it is great to see them on track as up until today they were still in talks with Honda over whether or not they could actually compete this weekend. With the rule changes next year, the Japanese manufacturer has made it quite clear that they aren't prepared to keep shelling out inordinate amounts of money to keep Aguri Suzuki afloat. After one possible backer dropped out at the last minute the team is again looking for a sponsor. Let's hope that they find one otherwise this may well be one of the last times we see them on the Grand Prix circuit.
I was actually quite surprised to see them leave the garage this morning as competing over a race weekend amounts to what us mere mortals would consider a cash bonfire. Of course, they don't want to miss out on the money they receive for competing in a Grand Prix.
As for the rest... The Renaults certainly looked quick in the second session but watching the onboard footage it looked as though both drivers were pushing pretty hard. Whether they can keep that sort of pace up over the whole weekend, I doubt. Force India, after saying mid-week that they are ready to get into Q3, have taken another step forward with strong finishes in the second session.
Whether all the teams were actually trying to set quick times, I am not convinced. I suggest that the Ferraris are going to be hard to beat come Sunday and the McLarens seem to have the edge over the BMWs for the time being.
The good news for all of you is that Nigel Roebuck is getting ready to write his first www.motorsportmagazine.co.uk Grand Prix Report and will share his views with us, here, after the race on Sunday. For a far more insightful and interesting read... log back on, Sunday evening and go via the 'Grand Prix Reports' link on the homepage to read it.