Ferrari lead in practice

Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen record the fastest times in Istanbul.

    Felipe Massa was fastest in the morning

    Ferrari led both practice sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix and Heikki Kovalainen rebounded from a violent crash in Spain with the second fastest lap time of Friday’s morning session.

    Two-time defending champion Felipe Massa led Ferrari in the first session with a time of 1 minute, 27.323 seconds, the fastest time of the day, before Kimi Raikkonen recovered from a gearbox problem that left him last in the morning session for an afternoon's best time of 1:27.543.

    Kovalainen, who finished fifth in the second session, trailed Massa by just over one-tenth of a second while McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton was second fastest in the afternoon.

    It was Kovalainen's first drive following his crash at the preceding Spanish GP.

    A wheel failure caused a tire on the Finn's car to explode and send him barreling into a wall at high speed.

    Though the crash left him in a hospital overnight with slight injuries, including a concussion, Kovalainen was cleared for Sunday's race after passing medical checks by governing body FIA on Thursday.

    Raikkonen looks for back to back wins

    Raikkonen, who won in Turkey for McLaren three years ago, is coming off a win at Barcelona.

    The 28-year-old Finn also won the Malaysian GP for a nine-point lead in the overall standings over Hamilton.

    Ferrari, which has won three straight GPs to lead BMW Sauber by 12 points in the constructors' standings, has topped eight of the 10 Friday practice sessions so far this season.

    Massa was third in the afternoon, ahead of Red Bull's David Coulthard.

    Hamilton was third in the morning with 1:27.752, which was over half a second quicker than Fernando Alonso of Renault in fourth place.

    Jenson Button of Honda rounded out the morning's top-five.

    Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella will start the race three places lower than his eventual qualifying position after leaving the pit lane when the lights were still red in the first session.

    The rookie Indian team is still looking for its first point.

    Wet conditions

    Drivers were increasingly tested by the elements through the day as rain fell in the afternoon following a cool morning session.

    Massa, Hamilton and Force India's Adrian Sutil all spun out at turn No. 3 in the first session, with Massa recovering to set the morning pace despite also running off at a later corner.

    Alonso, BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica, Button and Timo Glock of Toyota all went off track in the afternoon.

    A red flag was produced more than half an hour into the afternoon session when Mark Webber's Red Bull car veered straight into the wall when he tried to recover after going wide around a corner.

    The crash destroyed the front wing to leave both wheels dangling from the frame.

    Drivers return for a final practice session on Saturday before qualifying determines the starting order for Sunday's race.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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