Chinese GP, 2nd Free Practice Session: Raikkonen still on top 

Written by David on October 05th, 2007 at 12:00 pmLast Update: October 05th, 2007 at 12:00 pm

Kimi Raikkonen French Grand Prix 1st Free Practice SessionKimi Raikkonen remained on top in the second practice session at Shanghai, but only after a last-minute lap that beat Fernando Alonso’s previous benchmark by just six thousandths of a second. Felipe Massa was third, only 0.023 seconds off the pace, with points leader Lewis Hamilton fourth again.

World champion Alonso had been fastest for most of the afternoon, swiftly overcoming teammate Hamilton’s initial 1’37”657 with a lap 0.077 seconds faster. Both found more time when they rejoined ten minutes later, and again it was Alonso who came through marginally faster, his 1’36”828 lap beating Hamilton by 0.048 seconds.

The McLaren then switched to soft tires for their next appearance. While Alonso found another 0.2 seconds and lapped in 1’36”613, Hamilton had a spin at Turn 1 and failed to improve. Massa then came through to split the McLaren, lapping 0.017 seconds slower than Alonso. With the top drivers then focusing on long runs, the leading times were set for the next 40 minutes. Morning pacesetter Raikkonen had not threatened the top of the timesheets for most of the afternoon, instead languishing on the outskirts of the top six.

But in the final moments the Finn switched to soft tires and threw in a 1’36”607 to beat Alonso by just 0.006 seconds. Jarno Trulli was just half a second off the pace for Toyota in fifth place, with his teammate Ralf Schumacher seventh behind Red Bull’s Mark Webber. The Australian’s teammate David Coulthard had also appeared in the top five early in the session, and ended the day in eighth. Nico Rosberg and Giancarlo Fisichella completed the top ten positions. After his gearbox problem in practice one, Nick Heidfeld’s bad luck continued as a hydraulic problem sidelined his BMW just 11 minutes into the session. Once again the car was recovered to the pits in time for repairs to be carried out, and he rejoined the track later in the afternoon, although he could only manage 15th. Heikki Kovalainen was similarly fortunate when his Renault struck fuel pressure problems after 42 minutes. The car was recovered to the pits and repaired before resuming running and taking 11th.

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