Chinese GP - Kimi on good form
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Kimi Raikkonen, now the only Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver with a chance of taking the Drivers' title - albeit a slim one - seems to be the man on form, at least purely in terms of lap times here at the Shanghai International Circuit. The Finn topped the time sheets at the end of both of today's ninety minute sessions. As usual, on such a long track and on one which sees very little race action apart from this event and the MotoGP race, the track was very green in the first session of the day, providing little grip. However, gradually, as more laps were completed and it rubbered-in, the situation improved, with Kimi's best afternoon time being around half a second quicker than he managed in the morning. In fact, the top four drivers were all in the same order in both the morning and afternoon. Fernando Alonso was second fastest for McLaren-Mercedes, followed by Felipe Massa in the second F2007, with the Spaniard's team-mate Lewis Hamilton fourth. All four men were inside the 1m 37 second barrier. Fifth and sixth respectively at the end of the day were Jarno Trulli for Toyota and Mark Webber for Red Bull Racing. Over the course of the day, Kimi completed a total of 55 laps, while Felipe did 50.
The weather is very hot and humid, making working conditions for drivers and mechanics rather unpleasant. However, it appears that the left-overs of a typhoon in the area might bring cooling thunderstorms to the circuit tomorrow afternoon and most of the day on Sunday. However, after the downpour in Fuji, Japan last Sunday, it seems that while the spectators might relish the prospect of a damp track to liven up the show, the top teams would rather opt for the less unpredictable dry conditions.
"A good day, even if the Friday results have to be considered for what they are, given that we do not know what our main rivals are up to," Kimi said after Friday practice. "The car quickly proved to be well balanced, but there is still room to improve the handling. The track was very slippery, but luckily, there are plenty of escape roads that any mistakes don't cost a driver anything. I'm expecting a very close fight tomorrow."
Luca Baldisserri commented, "Not much to say about this Friday. We went through the usual preparation programme, trying various different set-up changes on the two cars and comparing the performance of the two types of Bridgestone tyre available to us. Track conditions were rather difficult and the surface really was very slippery. It is incredibly close, as indeed has been the case throughout the championship. It will be the details that make the difference, giving either ourselves or our main rivals the edge."