Alonso quickest in F1 season practice

Updated: 2007-03-16 10:59
Large Medium Small

Double world champion Fernando Alonso lapped quickest for McLaren in the first practice session of the Formula One season in Australia on Friday.

Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa, winner of the last race of 2006, was second with BMW Sauber's German test driver Sebastian Vettel third.

Alonso quickest in F1 season practice
McLaren Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain poses for photographers in Melbourne March 15, 2007. The first race of the Grand prix season will be held on Sunday at the Melbourne Grand prix circuit.[Reuters]
Alonso quickest in F1 season practice
Alonso, 25, blasted to the top of the timesheets 22 seconds from the end of the opening 90 minute session, lapping the Albert Park circuit in 1:29.214.

Massa's best time, on a drying track after overnight rain, was 1:30.707 with his quickest lap also his last of the session.

Kimi Raikkonen, his Ferrari team mate following the retirement of seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher, was 19th after completing seven laps -- the same number as Massa.

Spaniard Alonso, champion for the past two seasons with Renault and winner last year in Melbourne, has switched to Mercedes-powered McLaren in search of that team's first win since 2005.

He completed 23 laps, the second most of any driver on a humid and overcast morning.

British rookie Lewis Hamilton, Alonso's team mate and the first black Formula One driver, was fourth fastest and compatriot Jenson Button fifth for Honda.

Renault rookie Heikki Kovalainen, stepping into Alonso's shoes at the champions, was eighth quickest and his Italian team mate Giancarlo Fisichella was 12th.

Free practice has changed this season, with the two-race engine regulations in force only from Saturday morning.

This allows teams to switch their cars' engines without penalty for the Friday and complete far more laps than in the past, giving the crowd more for their money.

However, teams are only allowed to use two cars, rather than the three of last year, in either of Friday's two expanded sessions.

That left some race drivers, such as Poland's Robert Kubica and Germany's Nico Rosberg, sidelined in the first session as test drivers took their places.

   Previous Page 1 2 3 4 5 Next Page