F1

Alonso fastest at rain hit Monza

Alonso fastest at rain hit Monza

The predicted bad weather hit Monza on August 30th and the morning was a wash out as rain storms hit the circuit. Aside from a few exploratory laps none of the 11 drivers present got down to some serious work until after lunch. McLaren's...

The predicted bad weather hit Monza on August 30th and the morning was a wash out as rain storms hit the circuit. Aside from a few exploratory laps none of the 11 drivers present got down to some serious work until after lunch. McLaren's Fernando Alonso was once again fastest at the end of the day with a best time of 1:23.490 and he worked on distance runs and set up.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren Mercedes, MP4-22.
Photo by Alessio Morgese.

Robert Kubica's BMW Sauber was second quickest, just over nine tenths off the current champion. He put in a few laps in the wet conditions to gather tyre data then focused on set up once the track began to improve. Most teams intend to add an extra day to this test due to the weather and Kubica is scheduled to continue on Friday.

David Coulthard was third overall in the Red Bull and for his half-day he worked on tyres and gathered aero data, as well as validating previous data. Sister team Toro Rosso had Tonio Liuzzi behind the wheel and he was fifth, working on tyre comparison and aerodynamic assessment. Both drivers will continue tomorrow.

In between the two energy drink manufacturer teams was the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. The Brazilian took over from teammate Kimi Raikkonen and continued the programme of aero development and general set up for the Italian Grand Prix. Like his fellow drivers, Massa is expected to be back on track on Friday, better conditions allowing.

Jenson Button was sixth for Honda and he was followed by the Williams of Nico Rosberg in seventh. "During the limited window of running the weather afforded us we continued with our set-up work prior to the race here with Nico in the car," said test team manager Dickie Stanford. "Due to the poor weather conditions, we'll be staying another day with the majority of the other teams in order to finish our programme."

Giancarlo Fisichella, eighth quickest, was the third of the Renault drivers in the cockpit this week, after tester Nelson A. Piquet and teammate Heikki Kovalainen on the first two days. The Italian did 72 laps of set up and although he didn't complete his programme Renault was satisfied with its week and concluded its test today as scheduled.

"Even though we did less running than planned, I am quite pleased with the day," Fisichella said. "It was an important test, just one week before my home race, and all the more so because this is a very unusual circuit in terms of the high speeds, and how we use the brakes. I ran in wet and dry conditions, and I think we made good progress ahead of next week's race. "

Ralf Schumacher's Toyota was ninth on the time sheet; he picked up aero work from yesterday and will continue with mechanical set up on Friday. "The track was very green after all the morning rain, which certainly did not help," he commented. "When the circuit dried out we had to prioritise some aerodynamic evaluation left over from yesterday, once the decision had been taken to extend the test."

Spyker also stuck to its plan to conclude its work today. Sakon Yamamoto, in his first official test session with the team despite having competed in races, was 10th overall in the new B spec car which debuted yesterday. As with the rest the weather limited his running but he focused on basic set up and tyre comparisons.

"Considering how much it rained, we did do quite a lot of laps and I was happy with the progress we made," he said. "It's difficult to compare the A and B-spec cars as the tracks are so different -- Istanbul is very high downforce, while Monza is very low -- but the car felt easier to drive. Overall, it was good preparation for next week and we got some good settings for the race."

Anthony Davidson rounded off the times in 11th, over 11 seconds off Alonso's pace. Like many others he only managed a couple of laps in the morning but racked up 47 laps of aerodynamics work in the afternoon. He too is scheduled to be on track on Friday as Super Aguri joins the other teams in extending its test for a day.

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