Hockenheim day three - Massa in charge on final day 11 Jul 2008
Ferrari's Felipe Massa was the quickest runner during this weeks final day of testing at Hockenheim on Thursday. Massa clocked a best time of 1m 14.989s around the German track to finish a tenth of a second clear of Honda's Jenson Button. In fine and dry conditions, Massa completed Ferraris scheduled development programme on new mechanical and aerodynamic components for the F2008 and preparation for next weekends German Grand Prix.
"It was a good day's work," said the Brazilian after 109 laps. "We did a lot of kilometres and I have to say the car felt well balanced. This can only mean that we should also be competitive at this track, which is also the case for our main rivals."
Buttons first day at Hockenheim saw him continue with Hondas evaluation of their next package of aerodynamic, engine and mechanical improvements for the RA108, together with simulated race starts and live refuelling where the team addressed the issues which created a problematic second pit stop for both drivers in last weekend's Silverstone race.
"My day in the car was very productive and we did a lot of useful aerodynamic work and long run comparisons with the different tyre compounds, reported Button. The new parts we tested were positive and we achieved a lot during my 121 laps. As always we won't really know how much of an improvement the developments will bring until we are into the race weekend, but I'm looking forward to coming back here next week."
Heikki Kovalainen joined McLaren and completed 123 laps on his way to the third fastest time. The Finn was charged with development work of new aerodynamic and mechanical components, as well as race set-ups ahead of the German Grand Prix.
Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull after 118 laps of set-up and tyre comparison work in the RB4. We ran reliably which was a good thing because it meant we got through a lot of work, commented the Australian. Its been hard work, but productive. Now we have plenty of data to study for the next race, which I think will be as close as ever, but we will of course be trying to repeat the form we showed on Friday and Saturday at the British Grand Prix.
An encouraging day for Toro Rosso saw Sebastian Vettel go fifth fastest, despite the team finishing the session early as his STR3s Ferrari engine reached its mileage limit. The German evaluated various mechanical and aero set-ups, did long runs to compare the tyre types and also did some work aimed at improving brake performance.
We had three good test days here in Hockenheim, managing to do a lot of laps, commented Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost. I think we have found quite a good set-up and have a good understanding of the differences between the Bridgestone prime and option choices we will have next week. This means we should have a good baseline from which to start the test session next Friday morning here in Hockenheim and we are looking forward to the German Grand Prix.
Renaults Fernando Alonso was sixth in the times after his second day in the R28 and another 115 laps. "Another busy day, covering lots of laps and getting more data, which will be useful for the race next week, reported the Spaniard. It was quite nice to drive with the warmer temperatures because I think it is more representative of what we will have over the race weekend. We were certainly more competitive today, so it is clear that we have improved the car and that we are going in the right direction, but we still have some further ideas to explore over the race weekend."
Kazuki Nakajima filled seventh slot for Williams, just ahead of Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber, the German-Swiss team working primarily on tyre evaluation for the German Grand Prix, rather than concentrating on quick lap times.
At Toyota, Jarno Trulli used a new shark fin engine cover for his installation lap to test the stability of the configuration but then reverted to a standard engine cover as a base for the day's testing in the TF108. He finished ninth in the times.
"We concentrated mainly on aerodynamic experimentation and also did some brake and tyre comparisons, said Trulli after 129 laps. I got through a busy schedule and did more laps than anyone today. It will give us a lot of data to maximise the car set-up at next week's German Grand Prix. There were no mechanical issues, we completed what we needed to do and I'm happy."
A difficult day for Giancarlo Fisichella and Force India saw the Italian complete the timesheets following a fuel system failure mid morning and then a heavy crash in the afternoon. It was a bit frustrating we could not do more running, said Fisichella. In the morning we had the technical problem and had to stop for some time, then in the afternoon I had an accident.
The rear of the car went away and I just lost control through the stadium complex. The car went across the road and there's not much run off area there so I went into the wall. I'm fine, but the car was quite badly damaged. The guys did a good job to get it out again for the last 30 minutes. Overall we are making some small improvements and moving forward. We will have to see how they work next weekend.
The next multi-team test is scheduled for the week following the German Grand Prix, at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Unofficial Thursday times from Hockenheim:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:14.989
2. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:15.081
3. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:15.289
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:15.378
5. Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:15.556
6. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:15.593
7. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:15.759
8. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:15.869
9. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:16.065
10. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:16.113