VETTEL AND MICHELIN SET THE PACE -- TWICE
BMW Sauber/Michelin's 19-year-old test driver Sebastian Vettel was quickest in both free practice sessions on the opening day of the Italian Grand Prix meeting at Monza. The German lapped the 5.793-kilometre (3.599-mile) circuit in 1m 22.631s this afternoon to head an aggregates top 10 that included seven Michelin drivers
Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber F1 Team) was fifth ahead of Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren Mercedes, sixth), Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren Mercedes, seventh), Neel Jani (Scuderia Toro Rosso, eighth), Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber F1 Team, ninth) and world championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault, 10th).
Nick Shorrock, Michelin Formula One director:
"When we selected tyres for this race we anticipated higher temperatures than those we have encountered so far. If conditions remain as cool as this, which seems likely, then it is hard to envisage the use of our softer compounds in the race because they were specifically adapted for much warmer temperatures. And in any case, we might not use dry-weather tyres at all on Sunday because there is a very strong chance of rain."
"We brought 10 different products to Shanghai and it was very difficult to get any meaningful data this morning because the track was simply too dirty. This afternoon, however, our partners completed some good long runs before the drizzle began and our harder tyres proved to be very good in terms of pace, consistency and wear. Late in the session one or two drivers - including Robert Kubica - ventured out on intermediate tyres."
"Conditions might not be what we expected, but it is clear that we have suitable tyres and we're looking forward to this weekend's challenge as the world championship builds towards its exciting conclusion."