The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team had a successful first day's practice ahead of this Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Giancarlo Fisichella ended the day fourth-fastest, with a best time of 1m50.192s and completed 29...
The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team had a successful first day's practice ahead of this Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Giancarlo Fisichella ended the day fourth-fastest, with a best time of 1m50.192s and completed 29 laps, while Jenson Button finished 10th with a time of 1m51.673s after running for 20 laps.
Giancarlo was clearly happy with his day's work, saying afterwards: "It was an excellent day because we set fourth-fastest time while running a heavy fuel load. We worked hard this morning, the car was very well balanced and we found a good set-up for the dry. It was also pretty good in the wet however, I didn't have any particular problems and was very happy with the way things went.
"I'm confident we can be strong tomorrow and definitely think we can qualify in the top 10," he added.
Jenson was also pleased, but had been unable to run for as many laps as his team-mate, due to an engine problem.
"Tenth position isn't too bad," he said. "I am fairly happy, even though I am quite a way behind Giancarlo.
"My track time was restricted, as in the first session we had to change an engine following a problem and I only got one dry run this afternoon because of the weather.
"When I switched to wets I made a mistake at the Bus Stop chicane, clipped the barrier and broke a front track-rod," he added. "After that I did just one lap on wets before switching to intermediates, on which I managed about half a lap because the chequered flag came out. It was a very frantic session."
The team's Technical Director Pat Symonds was also happy with his drivers' results on the opening day's practice, saying:
"We are pleased with today's result, which puts us in an optimistic frame of mind. Times are seldom meaningful at any circuit on a Friday - and that's particularly true at Spa because of the variable weather," he explained.
"That said, we had not previously seen the benefits of the changes we have recently made to our car and engine, but perhaps we began to do that today. We were running with realistic fuel loads but were able to extract more of the performance that we know the car possesses.
"Giancarlo had a trouble-free day, which his position reflects, while Jenson's run of ill-luck continued when he was forced to stop early this morning because he needed an engine change. With this afternoon's rain, his dry running time was restricted and in view of that his 10th position is an excellent proof of his ability."
The B201 is running with some new aerodynamic modifications this weekend, including a revised floor.