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Silverstone Day One - Alonso top 02 Jun 2004

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R24 leaves the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Nurburgring, Germany, Practice, 28 May 2004

Mixed track conditions at the British Grand Prix circuit

Renault go fastest, with McLaren’s revised MP4-19B a promising second in the timesheets in the hands of Kimi Raikkonen.

A wet Silverstone greeted the teams on Tuesday as this week’s test kicked off. Rain disrupted the morning’s running, though the track gradually dried in the afternoon, with Renault setting the pace.

Alonso and team mate Jarno Trulli (third fastest) evaluated wet tyres with suppliers Michelin, studying performance in full wet and transitional wet-dry conditions. They then ran on dry tyres at the end of the day as part of an R&D programme.

"In spite of unfavourable conditions, we got a good amount of work done today,” reported Christian Silk, Renault’s Chief Test Engineer. “We learned as much as possible in the wet, both about the tyres and set-up, and our times looked pretty competitive. Both drivers are pleased with how the car is handling here."

Splitting the Renaults in the times was the heavily revised McLaren MP4-19B, which was given its track debut by Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn carried out the car’s first installation lap in the wet morning session and eventually completed 46 laps as conditions improved. First impressions were, according to Raikkonen, very good.

The Williams duo of Antonio Pizzonia and Marc Gene were fourth and fifth fastest respectively. The pair put in 130 laps between them, working primarily on tyre development with Michelin, but also carrying out some systems checks and traction control development.

Christian Klien was the sole Jaguar representative, sixth fastest in the R5 after just over 60 laps, immediately ahead of the Toyota of Cristiano da Matta and the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher. The world champion completed just 30 laps, focussing on set-up and tyre development in the F2004.

BAR’s Takuma Sato completed the Tuesday line-up. Unfortunately, a gearbox failure first thing meant the Japanese driver was able to complete only 14 laps of the team’s planned pre-Canada programme.

Testing continues at Silverstone on Wednesday.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Silverstone:
1. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:22.068
2. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:22.120
3. Jarno Trulli, Renault (Michelin), 1:23.386
4. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:23.672
5. Marc Gene, Williams (Michelin), 1:25.736
6. Christian Klien, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:26.213
7. Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:26.217
8. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:26.404
9. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:30.203