Spa day two - Massa on top for Ferrari as rain hits test 12 Jul 2007
The weather made life difficult for the teams testing in Belgium on Wednesday, as sporadic rain hampered their programmes at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. In the end it was Ferraris Felipe Massa who topped the times, with a best lap of 1m 46.698s - just under four-tenths of a second quicker than McLarens Fernando Alonso.
Massa spent the day working on the F2007s set-up and, despite the rain, covered 56 laps. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen will be in the driving seat on Thursday. Alonso, meanwhile, concluded McLarens aerodynamic programme and carried out some damper work. The Spaniard completed 68 laps in the MP4-22. Renaults Heikki Kovalainen posted the third-fastest time. In between showers, Kovalainen covered 44 laps and focused on fine-tuning the R27s handling in the wet.
The poor conditions certainly cost us track time today, but it was important to prepare for the possibility of rain during the race weekend in September, explained Renaults chief test engineer, Christian Silk. We did different length runs, on different tyres, in different conditions to learn as much as possible. Heikki got to grips with the circuit revisions very quickly and was quite pleased with the car balance and handling.
Fourth quickest was Ralf Schumacher for Toyota. Schumacher carried out evaluation work on the TF107s engine and coolers but the German only managed to complete 31 laps during the day. Jarno Trulli will be in the cockpit for the Japanese team on Thursday.
When it rains here like it did today it can be dry in one part of the circuit and wet in another, making it difficult to draw comparisons, explained Schumacher. Still, over these two days weve completed some positive work despite the weather. The car performed well overall so we can look forward to the race here with confidence.
Just over three-tenths of a second down on the Toyota driver was fellow German Adrian Sutil who clocked the fifth-quickest time in the Spyker. During the day, Sutil ran through a programme of aero development and worked on set-up for Septembers Belgian Grand Prix. Honda tester Christian Klien will be in action for Spyker on Thursday after the Japanese team loaned him for the day.
Sixth quickest was David Coulthard for Red Bull. Although the rain hampered Coulthards aero work, the Scot took advantage of the damp conditions to evaluate Bridgestones wet tyres. Mark Webber will be in the RB3 on Thursday. Hondas Jenson Button, meanwhile, posted the seventh-fastest time. Button covered 53 laps but was forced to curtail much of his planned aero evaluation.
Three-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais ended the day eighth quickest for Toro Rosso after taking over from Vitantonio Liuzzi. Although the weather did hamper Bourdaiss progress he managed to carry out some brake work, before a mechanical problem forced him to finish early. The Frenchman will test again on Thursday.
Nico Rosberg covered 54 laps in the Williams and finished ninth fastest, while Anthony Davidson in the Super Aguri ended the day in tenth. Completing the line-up in 11th was Robert Kubica, who endured a difficult day for BMW Sauber. During a brief dry period, Kubicas F1.07 fell foul of gearbox problems and so the Pole missed the opportunity to post a fast time. When he went out again after lunch, the rain had returned.
Testing continues at Spa on Thursday. If the damp conditions persist at the Belgian circuit, the teams may opt to extend the test by a day to make up for the lost dry track time.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Spa:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:46.698
2. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:47.012
3. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:47.754
4. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:48.534
5. Adrian Sutil, Spyker, 1:48:873
6. David Coutlhard, Red Bull, 1:48.915
7. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:49.526
8. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:49.732
9. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:50.295
10. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:52.438
11. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:55.155