BBC's F1 report has that Friday feeling - Andrew Noakes - Motoring Writer

This morning the BBC was getting very excited about Friday's F1 practice at Magny Cours, where the French Grand Prix will take place tomorrow. But why?

BBC Sport's website carries a story headed Ferrari head McLaren in practice in which the Beeb's reporters gush:

Ferrari dominated Friday practice... suggesting the former champions may be back on form... the Ferraris were well clear of the McLaren drivers throughout the day.

Sure enough, Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen head the Friday times. But the clue to the utter insignificance of all this lies only a little further down the list: third fastest on Friday was not Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso, not Heidfeld or Kubica or Rosberg, but the Toro Rosso of Scott Speed.

If those credulous chaps at BBC Sport reckon Friday's times indicate a resurgence for Ferrari, then they've missed a much bigger story: the incredible rise of Toro Rosso from tail-ender last week to the sharp end of the grid this week.

It's nonsense, of course. The Toro Rosso times were probably set with a light car, while the real front-runners were testing with fuller fuel tanks.

Friday times don't mean a thing, except to the drivers who set them and their teams. McLaren and Ferrari know how much fuel they were carrying in each car, and what their tests were intended to establish. They certainly weren't intended to establish which of them is the out-and-out fastest.

Qualifying this afternoon gave us a clearer picture - with Ferrari and McLaren disputing the top places, just as they've done all season. And while Felipe Massa took pole for Ferrari, the Maranello team certainly didn't 'dominate' qualifying the way the Beeb's report suggests they should have. Massa was less than a tenth of a second quicker than Hamilton's McLaren.

Sadly for Scott Speed and his team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi, the Toro Rosso cars will be closer to the back of the grid than the front for tomorrow's race. Just as everyone - except, presumably, the BBC - would expect.

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