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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Ferrari set blistering Monza pace
Italian GP, 10 September, 1300 BST

Michael Schumacher
Schumacher was nearly two seconds clear of Alonso
Michael Schumacher sent out an ominous signal to title rival Fernando Alonso as Ferrari set a blistering pace in practice at the Italian Grand Prix.

The German was the fastest race driver at Monza, and his lap of one minute 23.138 seconds was 1.751secs quicker than Alonso's Renault.

BMW Sauber tester Sebastian Vettel was fastest, 0.507secs ahead of Schumacher, with Ferrari's Felipe Massa third.

The fastest race driver not in a Ferrari was McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa.

The Spaniard was fifth fastest, behind Williams test driver Alexander Wurz and ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, whose move to Ferrari for 2007 is expected to be announced on Sunday.

The times suggest we are not so quick, but we know how much things can change through the weekend

Fernando Alonso
Ferrari's announcement may also reveal whether Schumacher, who is out of contract, will retire at the end of this season.

The German is 12 points behind Renault driver Alonso with a maximum of 40 points still available.

Alonso sounded confident despite the huge gap in pace between Renault and Ferrari.

"We ran a lot here [in testing] last week," he said, "so today was all about checking off some specific jobs for the race, and testing the tyres.

"The Michelins seem very consistent, and the performance was right there from the first lap too.

"The times suggest we are not so quick, especially compared to Ferrari, but this is Friday and we know how much things can change through the weekend."

Jenson Button and test driver Anthony Davidson discuss Honda's engine failures
Button and Davidson discuss Honda's engine failures

Schumacher said: "It's a bit too early to make any snap judgments.

"It is only Friday and usually we see that things can change quickly during the weekend.

"I would say we had a normal day. The times are slower compared with last week and that is down to the fact the track is not as rubbered-in.

"Having the same engine that I used in the last Grand Prix is not a disadvantage compared to my main rival. We have simulated the situation in testing and there were no problems.

"Of course I want to win, but I don't think the gap we saw today will stay like this through the weekend. However, as usual I will give it my all."

It was not a good day for Honda, whose test driver Anthony Davidson stopped on the first lap of the first session with his car in flames.

Davidson did go out in the second session and set 19th fastest time, but then suffered an even more spectacular failure after just eight laps.

Honda's problems stemmed from a decision to rush in early their 2007 engine because a freeze on engine development comes in to play at the Chinese Grand Prix next month.

Race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello took no part in either hour, giving the team time to revert to engines of an older design without incurring a 10-place grid penalty.


Times from second practice at Italian Grand Prix, Monza:

1. Sebastian Vettel* (Ger) BMW Sauber one minute 22.631 seconds
2. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1:23.138
3. Felipe Massa ( Brz) Ferrari 1:23.182
4. Alexander Wurz * (Aut) Williams 1:23.414
5. Pedro de la Rosa (Spa) McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.970
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.034
7. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:24.330
8. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1:24.577
9. Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:24.813
10. Franck Montagny * (France) Super Aguri-Honda 1:24.943
11. Christijan Albers (Ned) Midland-Toyota 1:24.985
12. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:25.027
13. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Cosworth 1:25.040
14. Christian Klien (Aut) Red Bull-Ferrari 1:25.108
15. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault 1:25.160
16. Tiago Monteiro (Por) Midland-Toyota 1:25.277
17. Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 1:25.316
18. David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull-Ferrari 1:25.318
19. Anthony Davidson* (GB) Honda 1:25.356
20. Mark Webber (Aus) Williams-Cosworth 1:25.500
21. Georgio Mondini* (Swi) Midland-Toyota 1:25.586
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Ita) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:26.707
23. Scott Speed (USA) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:25.755
24. Neel Jani* (Swi) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:25.878
25. Robert Doornbos* (Ned) Red Bull-Ferrari 1:26.058
26. Takuma Sato (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda 1:26.118
27. Sakon Yamamoto (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda 1:26.705
28. Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda no time
29. Jenson Button (GB) Honda no time

First practice times at Italian Grand Prix, Monza:

1. Sebastian Vettel* (Ger) BMW Sauber one minute 23.263 seconds
2. Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:23.745
3. Alexander Wurz* (Aut) Williams-Cosworth 1:23.868
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.037
5. Neel Jani* (Swi) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:24.196
6. Tiago Monteiro (Por) Midland-Toyota 1:25.413
7. Robert Doornbos* (Ned) Red Bull-Ferrari 1:25.578
8. Christijan Albers (Ned) Midland-Toyota 1:25.766
9. Takuma Sato (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda 1:26.708
10. Sakon Yamamoto (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda 1:27.310
11. Franck Montagny* (Fra) Super Aguri-Honda 1:27.597
12. Giorgio Mondini* (Swi) Midland-Toyota 1:28.444
13. Anthony Davidson* (GB) Honda no time
14. Pedro de la Rosa (Spa) McLaren-Mercedes no time
15. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari no time
16. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota no time
17. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber no time
18. Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota no time
19. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Ita) Toro Rosso-Cosworth no time
20. Scott Speed (USA) Toro Rosso-Cosworth no time
21. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Cosworth no time
22. Mark Webber (Aus) Williams-Cosworth no time
23. Christian Klien (Aut) Red Bull-Ferrari no time
24. David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull-Ferrari no time
25. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault no time
26. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault no time
27. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari no time
28. Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda no time
29. Jenson Button (GB) Honda no time

* = test driver ineligible to race

SEE ALSO
Schumi is fully focused - Alonso
07 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Briatore casts doubt on new role
08 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Kovalainen to take Alonso's drive
06 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Raikkonen fit after back injury
05 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Alonso wants 'special' Monza win
04 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Ferrari set to name new line-up
01 Sep 06 |  Formula One


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