Massa goes quickest despite crash

Felipe Massa topped the timesheets in opening practice for this weekend’s British Grand Prix, but Ferrari will have their work cut out to get his car ready for the second warm up session after the Brazilian crashed into the tyre wall.

Massa lapped an impressive 1m 19.575 to go quickest at the mid-way point, but the session was brought to a halt moments later when he careered rear-end-first into Stowe the same place that Michael Schumacher broke his legs in 1999 having lost control of his Ferrari on a trail of oil put down by Fernando Alonso, whose Renault engine let go moments earlier.

With the marshals electing to put white cement down over the oil on the racing line, some drivers appeared reluctant to venture out onto the track in the remaining 20 minutes. But that didn’t stop Kimi Raikkonen and the McLaren duo setting personal best times, despite taking being forced to take a different line into the Stowe corner.

Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton wound up within five hundredths of Massa, both drivers setting quicker sector one times, underlining the step forward that the Woking squad have made in the high-speed corners.

Kimi Raikkonen was third quickest, fourth tenths slower than Massa, ahead of Robert Kubica a further fourth tenths down the line.

Prior to his engine failure, Fernando Alonso had set an impressive pace for Renault and stayed sixth quickest.

Sebastian Vettel, the man widely tipped to step up into the vacant Red Bull Racing seat for next year, went quickest of all early in the session and eventually wound up seventh quickest, a second slower than Massa but ahead of Nelson Piquet (Renault), David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing) and Nico Rosberg (Williams) who complete the top ten.

Pos  Driver        Team                     Time              Laps
 1.  Massa         Ferrari             (B)  1:19.575             8
 2.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:19.587  + 0.012   15
 3.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:19.623  + 0.048   13
 4.  Raikkonen     Ferrari             (B)  1:19.948  + 0.373   16
 5.  Kubica        BMW Sauber          (B)  1:20.367  + 0.792   11
 6.  Alonso        Renault             (B)  1:20.436  + 0.861    7
 7.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:20.588  + 1.013   18
 8.  Piquet        Renault             (B)  1:20.653  + 1.078   16
 9.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:20.698  + 1.123   16
10.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:20.744  + 1.169   27
11.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:20.892  + 1.317   10
12.  Glock         Toyota              (B)  1:21.102  + 1.527   22
13.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber          (B)  1:21.107  + 1.532   18
14.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:21.166  + 1.591   17
15.  Trulli        Toyota              (B)  1:21.265  + 1.690   22
16.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:21.282  + 1.707   21
17.  Button        Honda               (B)  1:21.901  + 2.326    7
18.  Sutil         Force India-Ferrari (B)  1:22.169  + 2.594   16
19.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari (B)  1:22.219  + 2.644   19
20.  Barrichello   Honda               (B)  1:24.123  + 4.548    4