Rubens sets pace for Bridgestone runners Rubens Barrichello was the fastest driver on Bridgestone tyres during today's first practice session for the final grand prix of the season at Suzuka. The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver was third...
Rubens sets pace for Bridgestone runners
Rubens Barrichello was the fastest driver on Bridgestone tyres during today's first practice session for the final grand prix of the season at Suzuka. The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver was third quickest overall with his best time of 1:35.402.
His team-mate Michael Schumacher's day began well when he set an early fastest lap of 1:36.109 in the morning. Unfortunately, a hydraulic problem with this car in the afternoon meant he was unable to take full part in the later hour or to improve on his time.
It was a dramatic first day for Lucky Strike B.A.R. Honda too. Jacques Villeneuve was able to run only for the last 12 minutes of the second session following a crash in the morning. The accident, which caused the first hour to be temporarily stopped, forced the delay after lunch as the team worked on repairing his car.
Takuma Sato's first day driving at Suzuka in a Formula 1 car saw him improve throughout the practice, and he ended the day in 13th place with a laptime of 1:37.196
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport:
"Grip levels on the track this morning were quite low as was demonstrated by a number of cars going off and sliding through the corners. Consequently, the wear rate of the tyres was relatively high. As the track improved into the afternoon, so the wear diminished."
The Tyre Choice
Both dry weather specifications Bridgestone has offered for this race are new.
Hisao Suganuma said: "Most of our cars tried both specifications today, although Michael was unable to try one of the tyres due to losing most of the second session. However, Rubens's runs have given us plenty of information so Michael's lack of track time will not be a problem. Our primary tyre has more grip whereas the option provided better stability and consistency. Today's running has given us a lot of good data to select the best tyres for the race for all our teams."
Luca Baldisserri, Race Engineer, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro:
"As usual, Suzuka is quite difficult for tyres so it is very important to make sure that you have a good programme on Friday to try both specifications. Unfortunately, a hydraulic problem with Michael's car meant he could hardly run in the second session so we concentrated on Rubens. Again, he tried both tyres. On the first run he went wide over the kerbs so we stopped the run to check the car. The last run was quite promising - he did seven laps which has given us some useful information about the tyres."