Monza day two - Renault lead three-way tussle 31 Aug 2006
Renaults Giancarlo Fisichella was quickest in Monza on Wednesday, although the top spot was closely contested by Ferraris Felipe Massa and BMW Saubers Robert Kubica, with all three drivers clocking laps within two hundredths of a second of each other.
Fisichella, on his second day of testing, worked on longer tyre-endurance runs and set a fastest time of 1m 22.262s (over six tenths quicker than his Tuesday best). Team mate Fernando Alonso spent his first morning at the Italian Grand Prix circuit working on chassis set-up before swapping to a tyre evaluation, eventually taking fourth slot.
We did a big tyre programme, and even though the circuit is still changing a lot, we are pleased with the results and with the direction we are moving in, explained Renaults chief test engineer Chris Silk. This is important work for next week, especially because we don't often test at Monza and because this is the first test back after the summer break.
Massa, fastest man on Tuesday, had to be content with second place after a 67-lap run. He was joined by Michael Schumacher, who was initially hampered by hydraulic problems in the morning. The German eventually ran 53 laps in and set the seventh-quickest time.
Taking third place was Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber. The Polish rookie returned to testing with renewed vigour following two competent race drives, showing no sign of slowing. He began by adapting the set-up of the F1.06 to suit the circuit and ended the day completing a tyre programme alongside team mate Nick Heidfeld, who was sixth fastest on his last day of testing this week.
After Massa, the second quickest Bridgestone runner was Nico Rosberg in the Williams. The German youngster took fifth place after a busy day testing several new brake cooling options, trialling a new aero package and beginning tyre tests. Fellow Williams race driver Mark Webber managed only 14th place after several of his runs were interrupted by red flags (there were 10 throughout the day).
Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were eighth and ninth respectively for Honda. Button, looking at tyre options for the upcoming Italian Grand Prix, managed 107 laps, whilst Barrichello working on set-up, completed 75.
Japanese rivals, Toyota, were close behind courtesy of Jarno Trulli who took 10th slot, continuing his tyre and set-up programme from Tuesday. The Italians afternoon was interrupted by an early engine failure, but the team worked hard to fix the problem and Trulli made it back out for a few valuable laps.
The teams third driver, Ricardo Zonta clocked the 12th-fastest time. And although the Brazilian enjoyed better reliability than Trulli, his session was hampered by stoppages: We just lost a lot of time due to red flags and set-up work. It made for a long hard day sitting in the car but I think we have found out some interesting data about the Monza set-up and tyre compound alternatives.
Vitantonio Liuzzi split the two Toyotas in the timings to take 12th, whilst Scott Speed in the second Toro Rosso was 13th. Red Bull stable mates Christian Klien and David Coulthard were further down the field, with Klien finishing 15th and Coulthard, unable to break into the 1m 24s bracket, taking 19th.
Both McLarens were similarly low down the timings, with Pedro de la Rosa in 16th and tester Gary Paffett 17th. Tyre evaluation was the order of the day for both, but Paffett only managed 44 laps before an engine failure mid-afternoon ended his day. Both men are due to continue on Wednesday, with Kimi Raikkonen expected to sit out this weeks test due to the sore back he picked up from his crash in Turkey last weekend.
Completing the line-up was the Midland of Christijan Albers in 18th and the Super Aguri of Sakon Yamamoto in 20th. After working on the balance of the M16, Albers managed to shave 0.6s off the best time set by team mate Giorgio Mondini on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Yamamoto had a far more productive session after failing to set a time on Tuesday. The Japanese driver completed 67 laps running through tyre options.
Monza looks set to remain as busy on Thursday, with all the teams scheduled to continue at the circuit.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Monza
1. Giancarlo Fisichella., Renault (Michelin), 1:22.262
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1.22.274
3. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:22.280
4. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:22.312
5. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:22.451
6. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:22.620
7. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:22.634
8. Jenson Button, Honda (Michelin), 01:22.640
9. Rubens Barrichello, Honda (Michelin), 01:22.968
10. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:23.267
11. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (Michelin), 1:23.304
12. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:23.546
13. Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (Michelin), 1:23.601
14. Mark Webber, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:23.725
15. Christian Klien, Red Bull, (Michelin), 1:23.795
16. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:23.909
17. Gary Paffett, McLaren (Michelin), 1:23.937
18. Christijan Albers, Midland (Bridgestone), 1:24.890
19. David Coulthard, Red Bull, (Michelin), 1:25.074
20. Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri (Bridgestone), 1:25.600