RÃ„IKKÃ–NEN LEADS MICHELIN CHALLENGE ON DAY ONE Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen (Team McLaren Mercedes) was second fastest - and best placed Michelin driver - on the opening day of the German Grand Prix meeting. The Finn lapped in 1m 15.045s - fractionally ...
RÄIKKÖNEN LEADS MICHELIN CHALLENGE ON DAY ONE
Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) was second fastest - and best placed Michelin driver - on the opening day of the German Grand Prix meeting. The Finn lapped in 1m 15.045s - fractionally faster than last season's pole position time and just 0.044s shy of world championship leader Michael Schumacher. The leading teams and drivers proved to be closely matched and less than three quarters of a second separated the top nine.
Last year's winner Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) was third, ahead of Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin, fourth), Antonio Pizzonia (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin, fifth), Anthony Davidson (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin, sixth), Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin, seventh) and Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin, eighth).
This morning's first free practice session had to be red-flagged for safety reasons. Jordan driver Timo Glock lost his front wing, which subsequently broke up and deposited jagged carbon shards all over the track.
Standing in for injured BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver Ralf Schumacher, Antonio Pizzonia is preparing for his maiden grand prix with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team - and his first since he drove for Jaguar in the 2003 British GP at Silverstone.
Anthony Davidson (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin) set fastest time in this morning's first practice - despite being forced to stop before the end of the session when fourth gear stripped.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"This is a difficult race to call. The track was very abrasive first thing this morning and that might be the case again tomorrow, because the prospects of rain are rated at more than 90 per cent and the surface is consequently likely to be given a thorough cleansing overnight. It is much harder to predict how a track might evolve when the weather is unstable, so our six partner teams will need to bear the forecast in mind when analysing their data."
"So far, however, things have gone very smoothly for us: Times are very close at the front of the field and several of our partner teams look set to have a good weekend - including McLaren, which has maintained the upturn in form it showed at Silverstone."
"All three of Michelin's dry-weather compounds have worked well in the hot, punishing conditions. As usual, they have been fast and consistent in equal measure and we have no concerns about durability."