Local boy Mark Webber ended his day’s practice early at the Melbourne track after his Red Bull coasted silently into the pit lane, with the most likely culprit being either an engine or a gearbox issue.
Another driver whose luck wasn’t in was Rubens Barrichello who admitted to making a driving error which saw his car fly off into the barriers, bringing the practice session to a halt for 15 minutes. Barrichello was unfazed by his accident. “I just put a wheel on the grass,” he explained. “But before I spun, I was quite encouraged by the pace.”
The Toyota and Honda teams had a miserable day with all four cars being outpaced by their satellite squads in the morning’s free practice. Williams out-paced Toyota, and Super Aguri out-paced Honda. “Our position today is a clear indication that there is a lot of work to be done to close the gap to where we want to be,” Button said, whose best time was just off the pace of the slower Super Aguri driver, Takuma Sato. Super Aguri’s sporting director Graham Taylor played down the times. “I think we’re showing ourselves to be in higher positions than we we really are because of the decisions we made to accommodation for the green track,” he explained. “We are, however, very pleased.”
Results for both sessions were: