Friday analysis - Ferrari leave Toyota and McLaren trailing 06 Jul 2007
Kimi Raikkonen set the pace as the only man to dip into the 1m 20s bracket at Silverstone on Friday, pushing his Ferrari round in 1m 20.639s to dominate the day's second practice session for the British Grand Prix.
Like everyone else, the Finnish driver found the wind, especially in that session, made things difficult on the limit and had a couple of off-track moments at Copse corner as a result.
But like team mate Felipe Massa, second in the afternoon on 1m 21.138s, he felt that they had worked through the planned programme, obtained a decent balance, and are in very good shape thus far. Unusually, the red cars covered a lot more mileage than normal in practice.
Interposing ahead of McLaren, Toyota had Ralf Schumacher third (1m 21.381s) and Jarno Trulli fifth (1m 21.467s), building on a strong performance here at the test in June. Both TF107s were reliable and quick, though there is inevitably a question mark over the fuel load they were running.
McLaren werent too worried about joint third and sixth-fastest times (1m 21.381s and 1m 21.616s) in the afternoon (especially as Lewis Hamiltons morning time was second fastest overall). The Englishman was very happy with his cars pace, and said neither he nor Fernando Alonso had been going for fast times in the afternoon, but were rather following the planned schedule.
Williams also had their tail up, with Nico Rosberg seventh (1m 21.619s) and Alex Wurz eighth (1m 21.650s), the final runners below 1m 22s. Rosberg in particular believes there is more to come from the FW29 on Saturday.
Mark Webber was pleased to have a reliable Red Bull again today, and with his ninth fastest time (1n 22.137s) in the afternoon, but while celebrating re-signing for 2008 David Coulthard struggled with oversteer under braking in his RB3 and went off the track and was only 14th (1m 22.428s).
Anthony Davidson completed the top 10 for Super Aguri with 1m 22.143s and was happy with that despite an undisclosed technical problem that affected him with 20 minutes to go, but Takuma Sato was down in 16th (1m 22.487s), despite lapping only three-tenths of a second slower than his team mate. Once again the midfield times were very close, as the Renaults, the BMW Saubers and Coulthard were squeezed between the two Super Aguris.
Giancarlo Fisichella complained mainly of traffic but was happy with his R27 (12th on 1m 22.257s), as was Heikki Kovalainen (11th on 1m 22.189s), who said the basic balance was good. While Robert Kubica was quite happy with his F1.07 and said he had quite an easy day (13th on 1m 22.372s), BMW Sauber team mate Nick Heidfeld (15th on 1m22.486s) was much less satisfied as his car became progressively more difficult to drive. He, at least, had no back problems, but the same could not be said of Jenson Button who was 15th in the morning (1m 23.517s) before surrendering his car to Honda reserve driver Christian Klien for the afternoon. Team mate Rubens Barrichello said he had a standard Friday on his way to 17th overall (1m 22.511s) and was happy with the balance, while Klien (18th on 1m 23.833s) inevitably struggled a little but focused more on long runs rather than times.
Scott Speed was happier with his Toro Rosso than Tonio Liuzzi was with his, as they took 19th and 20th fastest times (1m 22.840s and 1m 23.105s) on a circuit on which they had been expected to do well, but both ran high fuel loads all day. Liuzzis problem was getting a decent balance on his STR02. At Spyker, Christijan Albers experience paid off, although he wasnt that happy with his F8-VIIs balance (21st on 1m 23.113s), while Adrian Sutil (22nd on 1m 23.720s) struggled on Bridgestones harder tyre and then found set-up changes promoting too much understeer. Subsequently he crashed at Copse.
The forecast is for similar conditions on Saturday, but if the wind persists it will continue to tax engineers as they try to set-up their cars for what amounts to a moving target.