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Friday analysis - little to choose between red and silver 04 Jul 2008

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2008.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2008 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2008 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.08.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2008 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2008 Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA) Renault R28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2008

As expected in light of last week’s test, Ferrari and McLaren proved to be closely matched during Silverstone’s first two practice sessions for the British Grand Prix, with nearest rivals BMW Sauber falling some way short of their mark. We take a team-by-team look at the weekend’s early running…

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 19.575s, P1/1m 20.943, P8
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 19.943s, P4/1m 21.275s, P12

Ferrari had a setback when Massa went off at Stowe in the morning just after setting the day’s fastest lap, but though the F2008 was damaged he didn’t lose too much track time and was as happy as he could be in the circumstances. Raikkonen had a seemingly subdued day, struggling to get a decent set-up as the wind direction changed. Ferrari, nevertheless, look as strong as expected.

McLaren
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 19.587s, P2/1m 19.989s, P1
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 19.623s, P3/1m 20.543s, P3

Kovalainen was pleased that McLaren got a good balance on their MP4-23s early on and made the most of it to run fastest morning runner Massa close. Hamilton was quote content to be third fastest in each session, and the silver arrows likewise looked ominously quick.

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, 1m 20.367s, P5/1m 21.023s, P11
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 21.107s, P13/1m 21.453s, P13

Kubica reported that he had a normal Friday, testing everything as planned, but Heidfeld said he was not yet happy with the behaviour of his F1.08. Its balance was not as good as it was at the test last week, partly due to the higher wind.

Renault
Fernando Alonso, 1m 20.436s, P6/1m 21.511s, P15
Nelson Piquet, 1m 20.653s, P8/1m 21.642s, P18

Once again Renault lost an engine in Alonso’s car in the morning, mainly because it was close to its mileage limit. He resumed his programme in the afternoon, and completed most of it. Piquet ran him close in both sessions and he was able to amass a lot of laps.

Toro Rosso
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 20.588s, P7/1m 20.805s, P6
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 21.166s, P14/1m 21.634s, P17

Vettel revelled in his STR3’s behaviour in the fast corners and said he had a very productive day with clear answers to all the usual set-up questions. Whereas he was happy with his car’s balance, Bourdais complained of understeer in the high-speed sections but managed to dial most of it out by the afternoon. That progress, however, unsettled the car elsewhere.

Red Bull
David Coulthard, 1m 120.698s, P9/1m 20.589s, P4
Mark Webber, 1m 20.892s, P11/1m 20.520s, P2

Webber had a small electronic glitch in the morning but tried different settings during the two sessions once it had been cured. Coulthard reported a normal Friday, which came as a relief after Red Bull lost track time with problems during the test.

Williams
Nico Rosberg, 1m 20.744s, P10/1m 20.748s, P5
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 21.282s, P16/1m 20.985s, P9

Rosberg hailed a productive test last week as the basis for Williams’ good showing, and said they gathered plenty of positive date on tyre performance which should see an upturn in performance for the rest of the weekend following the dismal run in Magny-Cours. Nakajima said he was going well until his trip into the wall at Abbey cost him track time he could ill afford to squander.

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, 1m 21.265s, P15/1m 22.196s, P20
Timo Glock, 1m 21.102s, P12/1m 21.472s, P14

It was not a great day for Toyota. Glock had a clutch problem in the afternoon which temporarily stranded him at Club, but of greater concern was the failure of Trulli’s new rear wing which parted company with the rest of the car at Stowe. The team have gone back to the standard component for the rest of the weekend.

Honda
Jenson Button, 1m 21.901s, P17/1m 20.929s, P7
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 24.123s, P20/1m 21.002s, P10

Button was happy with the tyre data he gathered during the day, but wasn’t entirely pleased with his RA108’s balance. Barrichello had a rear suspension problem which hampered his morning progress, but said his car was well balanced in the afternoon.

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 22.219s, P19/1m 21.520s, P16
Adrian Sutil, 1m 22.169s, P18/1m 21.756s, P19

Fisichella had a normal Friday at the team’s home circuit, and felt they had moved a small step forward with their new aero and mechanical package. Sutil banged his car about with his morning off at Becketts, but also felt there had been a two-to three-tenths improvement in performance.