Heikki Kovalainen made clear his intentions to make things as difficult as possible for team-mate Lewis Hamilton at this weekend’s British Grand Prix after going quickest in Friday practice at Silverstone.
The Finn set the early pace in the afternoon warm up with a lap of 1m 20.353 around the 5.141km track. A string of blistering laps mid-way in the session saw him improve to a 1m 19.989 and consolidate the top spot, albeit around half a second slower than he went this morning.
Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso), Nico Rosberg (Williams), and, somewhat unexpectedly, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello (Honda), all squabbled for the positions behind the McLaren driver in the opening third of the session. But it Mark Webber who emerged as Kovalainen’s closest challenger after setting a searing pace in the dying minutes to go second quickest, half a second shy of P1.
David Coulthard, who announced his retirement on Friday, was less than a tenth of a second slower than his team-mate in fourth place, while Lewis Hamilton was the meat in a Red Bull sandwich after locking up in the Luffield complex on his final flying lap.
Ferrari maintained their low-key running with Felipe Massa – in a repaired F2008 after his crash this morning – lapped eighth quickest, three tenths quicker than team-mate Raikkonen, despite running wide on several of his hot laps.
Nico Rosberg gave Williams a reason to smile at their home track after pacing sixth fastest. Team-mate Kazuki Nakajima underlined the team’s pace going just a couple of tenths of a second slower – though not before bringing out the yellow flags when he ran wide at Farm and spun across the track into the wall, damaging the front of his FW30 in the process.
Honda who had very little running in the morning, were also right in the mix for most of the session, illustrating a clear step forward in performance for the Brackley-based outfit. Button gave his home fans something to cheer about after pacing seventh quickest, while Barrichello rounded out the top ten.
There were no stoppages in the afternoon session, unlike in the morning, despite an almost carbon-copy of Felipe Massa’s crash. Jarno Trulli was pitched into the tyre barriers at Stowe after his rear wing appeared to drop off his TF108 just before the braking zone.
Trulli’s team-mate Timo Glock brought out the yellow flags early on when he crawled to a halt on the back straight with what appeared to be a gear selection problem.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:19.989 35 2. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:20.520 + 0.531 32 3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:20.543 + 0.554 31 4. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:20.589 + 0.600 36 5. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:20.748 + 0.759 43 6. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:20.805 + 0.816 43 7. Button Honda (B) 1:20.929 + 0.940 39 8. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:20.943 + 0.954 18 9. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:20.985 + 0.996 18 10. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:21.002 + 1.013 34 11. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:21.023 + 1.034 33 12. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:21.275 + 1.286 31 13. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:21.453 + 1.464 36 14. Glock Toyota (B) 1:21.472 + 1.483 18 15. Alonso Renault (B) 1:21.511 + 1.522 27 16. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:21.520 + 1.531 42 17. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:21.634 + 1.645 39 18. Piquet Renault (B) 1:21.642 + 1.653 45 19. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:21.756 + 1.767 30 20. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:22.196 + 2.207 23