McLaren continue to dominate as rain recedes
Kimi Raikkonen went more than a second faster than his nearest rival as testing continued in much-improved conditions at Silverstone on Thursday. Raikkonen’s best of 1m 18.144s was quicker than any lap set during last year’s British Grand Prix.
With Wednesday’s rain gone, Raikkonen again showed how well the MP4-20 chassis works in combination with it Michelin rubber as the team focussed on tyre development for the forthcoming Canadian and British races.
Both the Finn and team mate Pedro de la Rosa, second fastest, carried out short runs in the morning and then a back to back comparison of Michelin’s prime and option tyres for the aforementioned races in the afternoon. An engine failure for de la Rosa cost him about half the morning session.After sitting out Wednesday’s session due to the weather, Renault commenced their programme with Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella fourth and sixth fastest respectively. The championship leaders concentrated exclusively on tyre work for the Silverstone race in July.
“After the frustration of not running at all yesterday, it was good to get some serious running done today,” Renault’s chief test engineer Christian Silk commented. “We focused our work around the forthcoming Grand Prix, and obtained good directions on the tyres we want to use in the race. Fernando also began some set-up programmes, which we will develop further tomorrow with both drivers if the weather holds.”BAR also joined proceedings on Thursday, the Honda-powered team switching their attention from Italy’s Monza session. Jenson Button was third in the times working on an aero programme, while team mate Takuma Sato went eighth, carrying out tyre evaluations.Bridgestone had two of their teams in action.
Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello was ninth as he continued the F2005 set-up work started by Luca Badoer on Wednesday, while at Jordan, Tiago Monteiro took over from team mate Narain Karthikeyan, finishing at the bottom of the timesheets.Jarno Trulli flew in from Monza to join Toyota and Ralf Schumacher. The Italian was the quicker of the pair, taking his TF105 to seventh spot compared to the German’s 11th.David Coulthard ended his first day of the week in fifth place for Red Bull, five places up on team mate Christian Klien. Junior team member Scott Speed is expected to get an outing in Friday’s session ahead of a possible third-driver appearance in the Canadian and US Grands Prix.Williams finished at the lower end of the order, with Nick Heidfeld 12th and Mark Webber 13th. As well as tyre work, both men spent time on practice starts and traction control developments as the team bid to get on top of the poor getaways that have hampered their season to date.
Testing continues at Silverstone on Friday.
Unofficial Thursday times from Silverstone:
1. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.144
2. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:19.212
3. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:19.602
4. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.765
5. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:19.773
6. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.907
7. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Michelin), 1:19.983
8. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:20.136
9. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:20.287
10. Christian Klein, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:20.542
11. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Michelin), 1:20.654
12. Nick Heidfeld, Williams (Michelin), 1:20.949
13. Mark Webber, Williams (Michelin), 1:21.099
14. Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:23.263