The final day of testing at Silverstone was the most eventful out of the three day pre-Grand Prix tyre test. The conditions were hot and sunny for long periods separated by brief but heavy showers. The rain fragmented the day and this played havoc...
The final day of testing at Silverstone was the most eventful out of the three day pre-Grand Prix tyre test. The conditions were hot and sunny for long periods separated by brief but heavy showers. The rain fragmented the day and this played havoc with the teams test schedules especially for those drivers doing tyre tests. The only changes in the driver line-up from yesterday afternoon were Marc Gene being drafted in to replace Ralf Schumacher and also Fernando Alonso replacing Eddie Irvine at Jaguar.
The fastest driver was Rubens Barrichello for the second successive day. The Ferrari driver lapped nearly two seconds faster than the next best driver. The team came out quite late in the morning and did a long run followed by a few shorter ones in the afternoon. Ultimately Barrichello completed a Grand Prix distance minus a couple of laps and his fastest lap was almost at qualifying pace. The McLaren pair of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard were down in sixth and eleventh places respectively with both drivers doing many short stints throughout the day.
The most notable event of the day was Fernando Alonso's guest appearance for Jaguar as part of their young driver evaluation programme. The team tested Andre Lotterer on Tuesday and James Courtney on Wednesday, and borrowed Alonso from Renault to test for them today. Despite initially being cautious and noticeably earlier on the brakes that race driver Pedro de la Rosa, Alonso stunned onlookers by setting the third fastest time and going quicker than race driver de la Rosa.
Sauber were particularly affected by the weather as they were only running one car at the test. Nick Heidfeld complained that he was unable to evaluate set-up changes properly due to the constantly changing track conditions. Allan McNish also expressed frustration that his tyre test was hampered by the rain. Jordan took the opportunity of the damp track to practice pitstops with Takuma Sato behind the wheel.
There were some minor incidents during the session although there was no damage to any of the cars. Enrique Bernoldi had the most unfortunate day, spinning off the circuit in the morning at Luffield and then suffering an engine failure along the pit straight in the afternoon. He completed two long stints in the morning and set a competitive time then, although he did return to the track late in the afternoon to shakedown the car.
David Coulthard suffered a mechanical problem and spun off the circuit at Luffield in the morning, coming to a halt across the pitlane entrance. The McLaren driver then sat on the side of the car while it was pushed back to his garage by his mechanics, and the swarm of media grew quickly as the car rolled further down the pitlane. Jenson Button also spun off on the first half of the circuit during the morning but returned to the track a few minutes later after the car had been cleared.
The teams collected a large amount of valuable data for the forthcoming British Grand Prix in a few weeks and also the next Grand Prix which will be held in Montreal, Canada. Those teams with two cars were able to split their programmes while those running a single chassis were affected more by the changeable weather. Ferrari showed their dominance with their pace, and Alonso reminded the paddock of his speed and skill.