MICHELIN MAKES BRIGHT START UNDER DARK SKIES Michelin's six partner teams emerged in good shape on the opening day of the company's home grand prix at rain-hit Magny-Cours. No Michelin runner set a representative lap on a completely dry track at...
MICHELIN MAKES BRIGHT START UNDER DARK SKIES
Michelin's six partner teams emerged in good shape on the opening day of the company's home grand prix at rain-hit Magny-Cours. No Michelin runner set a representative lap on a completely dry track at the start of the morning's first free practice, when the day's fastest time was set. But Michelin drivers dominated the day's second session which got off to a damp start, but dried significantly before further rain interruptions.
Cristiano da Matta (Toyota) profited from improving conditions right at the end to lap in 1m 15.518s - the second quickest lap of the day. The Brazilian headed a Michelin one-two-three-four in this session, when teams completed the majority of their serious running.
Jarno Trulli (Renault, second), Anthony Davidson (BAR-Honda, third), Jenson Button (BAR-Honda, fourth), Fernando Alonso (Renault, sixth), David Coulthard (Team McLaren Mercedes, seventh), Mark Webber (Jaguar, eighth) and Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes, ninth) were also on the pace in the afternoon. Five Michelin partners featured in the top 10.
Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) damaged his car extensively when he spun off the track in the first session. He was able to practise in the afternoon, however, when he was 13th fastest. Williams deputy Marc Gené was third and 14th in the day's two sessions. He is standing in for Ralf Schumacher, who injured his back in a 190mph accident during the recent United States Grand Prix.
Although drivers usually have to select tyres for the race on a Friday, the FIA has extended the deadline until midday Saturday in the light of today's changeable weather.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"It has been an interesting day. It hasn't been easy to draw too many firm conclusions, of course, because of the changeable conditions, but we still managed to get some useful comparison data with our two dry-weather tyre compounds."
"Although conditions were briefly damp enough to justify using extreme-wet tyres, they weren't actually needed because the track began to dry pretty quickly after each cloudburst. It was nice to get to use our normal wets during an official session - at last - and they worked well."
"The forecasters predict it will be dry for the remainder of the weekend, but come rain or shine I think our tyres will be very competitive."