Bridgestone Motorsport's Friday Update Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) set the marker on the opening day of running for Bridgestone's 200th race - the Telefonica Grand Prix of Europe - by using Bridgestone's soft compound Potenza tyre...
Bridgestone Motorsport's Friday Update
Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) set the marker on the opening day of running for Bridgestone's 200th race - the Telefonica Grand Prix of Europe - by using Bridgestone's soft compound Potenza tyre to set the day's fastest lap time of 1min 39.477secs at the 5.4km Valencia street circuit, for the twelfth round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.
This was the first time that the port area of Valencia had reverberated to the sounds of Formula One cars driving on this new circuit, and Raikkonen set his time in the afternoon 90-minute practice session. He was two hundredths faster than the next driver, Fernando Alonso (ING Renault F1 Team). Honda F1 Racing driver Jenson Button went third fastest in this session.
Earlier times had tumbled in the morning session time as drivers acquainted themselves with the new street course, learning the track and perfecting their cars' set-ups for this exciting new race destination located in the port area of Spain's third largest city. Sebastian Vettel (Scuderia Toro Rosso) set the fastest time, using the soft compound tyre for a lap of 1min 40.496secs. He edged out championship contenders Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) and Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) for the honour of going fastest in this first ever session for the European Grand Prix at Valencia.
As expected, Valencia proved to be a difficult challenge for drivers due to the slippery and green nature of the new track. Grip levels varied during the three hours of running today, whilst the weather remained hot and dry, meaning that Bridgestone's extreme wet and wet tyres were not required.
Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said:
"This is a very nice street course which is, in many ways, similar to a permanent facility. There are long straights, meaning a good high speed battle with speeds over 300kph, and slower corners, meaning good braking technique is required. It is a very technical circuit, for example there is an adverse camber section before the bridge which makes matters very interesting for the drivers. Both compounds performed well on this first day and the track grip levels improved dramatically during both sessions. At this stage it is very difficult to say which will be the preferred tyre for qualifying or the race as we have a lot of data to digest and drivers and teams are still learning how best to tackle this exciting new venue."
Stats of the Day
Total amount of laps completed by all drivers: 1158 laps
Average number of laps per driver: 58 laps
Most laps by a driver: 70 - Alonso
Fastest lap: 1min 39.477secs - Raikkonen (FP2)
Compounds used: Soft / Super Soft