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Friday analysis - are Ferrari destined to win again? 09 May 2008

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2008.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 9 May 2008 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB4 crashes.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 9 May 2008 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda RA108.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 9 May 2008 (L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso with Lucas Di Grassi (BRA) Renault Third Driver, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren and Christian Klien (AUT) BMW Sauber Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 9 May 2008 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 9 May 2008

With successive wins in 2006 and 2007, Ferrari arrive at Istanbul Park with an enviable track record at the Turkish circuit. And there were signs that their run of good fortune may well continue on Friday, with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen topping the times in the morning and afternoon practice sessions respectively.

That said, with McLaren pushing the red cars hard and Red Bull coming on strong, there's still everything to play for ahead of qualifying on Saturday, with no guarantees that Ferrari are going to have it all their own way…

Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 30.732s, P20/1m 27.543s, P1
Felipe Massa, 1m 27.323s, P1/1m 27.682s, P3

Raikkonen’s dearth of laps in the morning transpired to be the result of a gearbox problem, but he made up for that by dominating the afternoon to claim the fastest time ahead of Hamilton and Massa. The Brazilian, who has won here for the past two years, said he had a positive day and that the track was fast. By the end of the morning, even without traction control, he had beaten his 2007 pole time by 0.006s on a track that was still slippery enough in places to provoke many spins during the course of the day.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 27.752s, P3/1m 27.579s, P2
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 27.456s, P2/1m 27.954s, P5

Hamilton used only one set of tyres in the morning and admitted that on new rubber at the end of the afternoon session he made a small mistake which cost him time on his best lap. Otherwise, he was pleased with his day, as was Kovalainen, who returned in style after his nasty accident in the Spanish Grand Prix to set the second fastest time in the morning. His only problem was non-optimal brake temperature during his afternoon run on Bridgestone’s option tyre (the medium compound compared to the hard tyre brought along as the prime).

Red Bull
David Coulthard, 1m 30.340s, P17/1m 27.763s, P4
Mark Webber, 1m 30.088s, P16/1m 29.633s, P19

A mixed day, with Coulthard fourth in the afternoon but Webber putting his RB4 into the wall a third of the way through that session after he spun in Turn Six. The Scot said he was quite happy with his day’s work and with getting the front of the car biting well, while the Australian took his mistake 100 percent on the chin after loading the car up a little too much on Astroturf that was still a little too damp on the exit to the corner after the rain during the lunch break.

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, 1m 29.330s, P12/1m 28.431s, P6
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 29.024s, P7/1m 28.817s, P10

Kubica lost time in the morning with a very minor problem around the gearbox of his F1.08, and thus had to squeeze two session’s work into one in the afternoon. In his four runs he was dissatisfied with the balance, but tried several options which will be evaluated overnight in readiness for the final practice session on Saturday morning. Heidfeld said his main problem was not getting the tyres heated up quickly enough.

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, 1m 29.329s, P11/1m 28.619s, P7
Timo Glock, 1m 29.103s, P10/1m 28.849s, P12

Toyota reported no real problems as Trulli and Glock went through their usual tyre evaluation programmes, but the German had an off-course moment in Turn Four in the closing stages in the afternoon and damaged his TF108’s front wing.

Williams
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 29.002s, P6/1m 28.664s, P8
Nico Rosberg, 1m 29.367s, P13/1m 28.907s, P13

Both Nakajima and Rosberg had uneventful sessions as they struggled to set up their FW30s. Rosberg set a faster time in the afternoon, 1m 28.351s, but had it disallowed by the stewards when it transpired he had missed the apex of Turn Ten while achieving it.

Renault
Fernando Alonso, 1m 28.284s, P4/1m 28.681s, P9
Nelson Piquet, 1m 29.082s, P9/1m 29.212s, P16

Neither driver reported any problems. Alonso said he was encouraged by Renault’s performance, which included the fourth-fastest lap in the morning, while Piquet said his day was ‘pretty normal’, and that he managed to improve his R28’s balance during the course of both sessions.

Honda
Jenson Button, 1m 28.919s, P5/1m 28.826s, P11
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 29.068s, P8/1m 29.024s, P15

Button said he was much happier with the performance of his RA108 in the afternoon after struggling with initial turn-in in the morning, while Barrichello was reasonably happy with the start to his record 257th Grand Prix outing. His car was well balanced from the start, but a change in the mechanical set-up sent it the opposite way to Button’s in the afternoon. Both drivers praised the ride quality on the smoother asphalt, after struggling with that in Spain.

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 29.811s, P15/1m 29.008s, P14
Adrian Sutil, 1m 29.756s, P14/1m 30.832s, P20

Fisichella was quite happy with the performance of his car in both sessions, but not with the three-place grid penalty that the stewards applied after he exited the pits in the morning against the red light. Sutil ran well in the morning, but lost the rest of the afternoon session following the red flag when his VJM01 developed a clutch problem.

Toro Rosso
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 30.426s, P19/1m 29.462s, P17
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 30.388s, P18/1m 29.630s, P18

Still using the old interim STR2B, Vettel and Bourdais had uneventful days beyond a spin apiece. The latter, on his first visit to the track, loved Turn Eight but admitted that it was a case all day of learning how to get the most out of the tyres in the relatively cool conditions.