Friday, June 20, 2008
A lot of work completed by Ferrari in these three hours of free practice on the first day of the French Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa covered around 500 kilometres and the Italian team now has plenty of data to work on with a view to qualifying and especially French Sunday's Grand Prix.
Felipe Massa set the fastest lap of the day with a 1:15.306s in the morning session and was second fastest in the afternoon despite a stiff neck. Raikkonen was third in the morning and fourth in the afternoon.
"It was a good day, apart from a slightly tight neck which I began to feel this morning: so as not to take any risks, I chose to avoid doing too many runs of several laps. I therefore concentrated on the car's set-up, working with both types of tyre. On the softer ones, it seems to be a little bit harder to find the right balance, but we must take into account that today, as usual on a Friday, the track is still dirty. Everyone suffered a bit with graining on the front tyres, but tomorrow the situation should improve. We must study all the data we have gathered to prepare as well as possible for qualifying and the race."
"I am happy with the way things went during these two free practice sessions. We got through all our usual Friday job list, working mainly towards the race. Of course we don't know how much fuel our main rivals were running, but I get the impression we are very competitive. Maybe I did not get the most out of the first lap, but I am happy with the balance of the car.
We tried out this new system for a Safety Car period and I think it could be a good solution because it puts everyone in the same situation and that way, you can't be penalised just by unfortunate circumstances."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal
"Overall, it was a good start to this race weekend. Both drivers declared themselves pleased with the handling of the F2008 on this track. In evaluating the results, the usual unknowns come into consideration, these being the fuel taken on by the other teams and their work schedule, but we can say we are confident for the rest of the weekend. Coming off the back of two negative results, having not fulfilled our potential, it's time to get back to our usual standards."
"Because Felipe was suffering with a stiff neck this morning, we slightly modified the two drivers' programmes from the usual ones. The Brazilian concentrated on defining the best set-up on the car, while Kimi also had to tackle the task of evaluating the behaviour of both types of Bridgestone tyre available to us. We are happy with the work we did today: the F2008 seemed to be going well on this track and that means we can be cautiously confident for the rest of the weekend."
E.A. © CAPSIS International
The 90 minutes of running this morning at Magny Cours saw Felipe Massa dominate the session for Ferrari, lapping the 4.411km circuit a cool seven-tenths of a second clear of his nearest rival.
Sunny skies greeted the 20 runners for the start of the 90 minute free practice session and while Ferrari sat out the opening 30 minutes of running, Massa vaulted to the top of the timesheets on his first stint on the harder medium compound Bridgestone tyre and would improve throughout the session as the clouds moved in. The Brazilian eventually set a best time of 1:15.306s.
Lewis Hamilton set the second fastest time in his McLaren Mercedes with a best lap of 1:16.002s. Both Hamilton and team-mate Heikki Kovalainen struggled for grip throughout the session with Hamilton frequently locking his front left wheel under braking. However, Hamilton remained on the worn set of tyres and was unable to respond to Massa’s gains.
Kovalainen set the third fastest time and survived a lurid trip into the gravel after losing the rear end of his MP4-23 in the ultra-fast Estoril right hander. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest in the second Ferrari, just under eight-tenths off the flying Massa.
Canadian Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica was in his customary fifth position in the leading BMW Sauber with team-mate Nick Heidfeld ninth fastest. Fernando Alonso was comfortably sixth fastest but was forced to pull off in the final minutes of the session as his Renault V8 failed in dramatic fashion.
However, being free practice, there will be no grid position penalty for the former champion.
Jarno Trulli was firmly in the top ten in his Toyota and despite a spin exiting the Adelaide hairpin late in the session, managed the seventh fastest time just ahead of the impressive Sebastian Vettel in the leading Toro Rosso Ferrari. With Heidfeld ninth, Timo Glock rounded out the top ten in the second Toyota.
Nelson Piquet set the 11th best time in the second Renault seventh-tenths of a second behind team-mate Alonso while the Red Bull Renault duo of David Coulthard and Mark Webber proved closely matched in 12th and 13th.
It was not a particularly encouraging start to the weekend at Williams Toyota with Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima 14th and 17th. Rubens Barrichello led the way again at Honda with the 15th best time ahead of Sebastien Bourdais in the second Toro Rosso, Nakajima and Jenson Button in the second Honda.
Giancarlo Fisichella was 19th in his Force India Ferrari while team-mate Adrian Sutil was forced to miss the final third of the session for an as yet unknown reason. Sutil was 20th and slowest.
© CAPSIS International