British GP - Good form continues
The first day of free practice for Sunday's British Grand Prix got underway with the same good form that the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro drivers showed just five days ago in France. While McLaren- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton finished just ahead of the Red duo in the morning, this afternoon after a further ninety minutes of practice, Kimi Raikkonen was quickest, the only man to break the 1m 21s barrier, with Felipe Massa second, half a second slower.
Third was Ralf Schumacher for Toyota, followed by the centre of all the local media attention this weekend, Lewis Hamilton. Fifth and sixth went to their respective team- mates, Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso. Jenson Button was fifteenth in the morning session, but when it was over the Honda driver complained of back pains, was taken to hospital for checks and treatment, while his place for the afternoon was taken by reserve driver Christian Klien, who ended up eighteenth. A lot of laps for the Scuderia drivers today: 61 for Kimi, 56 for Felipe.
Summer weather has still not put in an appearance here, although it was much drier than yesterday. Tomorrow is supposed to be the best day of the weekend, when qualifying starts at one o'clock local time, to synchronise with the usual start time in Europe.
"It was a good day," said Kimi. "We worked in a different way to usual, covering a high mileage. I would say we have a good base from which we can improve the car for qualifying and the race. We have to do well and we will give it our all. Track conditions were a bit difficult because of the wind, while it seems that, compared to the test two weeks ago, the track surface is a bit slipperier. The tyres seem very similar in terms of performance, give that we I have done almost the same lap time on the hards and the softs. As usual on Friday, there are so many unknowns in terms of the order among the teams. We must wait and see how the weekend develops."
Luca Baldisserri also said, "We began this English weekend in a slightly different way because we decided to accumulate more kilometres than we usually do over the three hours of free practice. The track conditions are different to those at the test two weeks ago in that there is little grip and the wind, which is gusting, is difficult to deal with. Having said that, we can add that we have picked up a lot of data which will allow us to improve the settings on the car, which does seem quite well balanced. The performance of the two types of Bridgestone tyres is pretty similar both in terms of performance on the first lap and over a longer run. All in all, a positive day."