With most teams switching from component testing to race setup for the German Grand Prix 10 days away and greeted by the first fully sunny day of the test, Ferrari's Felipe Massa ended a Formula One test week at Hockenheim, Germany, on Thursday...
With most teams switching from component testing to race setup for the German Grand Prix 10 days away and greeted by the first fully sunny day of the test, Ferrari's Felipe Massa ended a Formula One test week at Hockenheim, Germany, on Thursday atop unofficial time sheets.
The Brazilian who shares the drivers championship points race lead finished development work on new mechanical and aerodynamic parts for the F2008 and called it a troublefree test an hour early. He posted a quick lap of 1 minute, 14.98 seconds in 109 laps. Next track time for Ferrari will be Tuesday at the team's Fiorano track with test driver Luca Badoer at the wheel.
"It was a good day's work," Massa said. "We did a lot of kilometers and I have to say the car felt well-balanced. this can only mean that we should also be competitive at this track, which is also the case for our main rivals."
Main rival McLaren Mercedes, with Heikki Kovalainen at the wheel of the MP4-23, had to take a place behind Honda's Jenson Button. Button turned a 1:15.08 in 121 laps, Kovalainen a 1:15.28 in 123. Honda will introduce new mechanical, aero and engine updates at the Grand Prix.
"My day in the car was very productive, and we did a lot of useful aerodynamic work and long run comparisons with the different tire compounds," Button said. "The new parts we tested were positive and we achieved a lot during my 121 laps. As always, we won't really know how much of an improvement the developments will bring until we are into the race weekend, but I'm looking forward to coming back here next week."
The Honda team did race simulations including refueling. A pit-stop problem cost podium placer Rubens Barrichello a position in Sunday's British Grand Prix. "We have some improvements for engine driveability, together with mechanical chanages and a anew fuel system, which is unrelated to the pit-stop issue we encountered in Silverstone with rubeins," Steve Clark said. "However, we have, of course, taken the opportunity to identify the cause of Sunday's issues and will revise our methods in time for the German Grand Prix. All the indications are that we have made progress here this week."
Red Bull RB4 driver Mark Webber followed Kovalainen with a 1;15.37 in 118 laps. ""We ran reliably which was a good thing because it meant we got through a lot of work," Webber said. "It's been hard work, but productive. Now we have plenty of data to study for the next race, which I think will be as close as ever, but we will of course be trying to repeat the form we showed on Friday and Saturday at the British Grand Prix."
Sebastian Vettel in Scuderia Toro Rosso's STR3 posted a 1:15.55 in 106 laps to appear fifth on time sheets. Besides race prep, the German concentrated on brake work and tire comparisons. "We had three good test days here in Hockenheim, managing to do a lot of laps," team principal Franz Tost said. "I think we have found quite a good setup and have a good understanding of the differences between the Bridgestone prime and option choices we will have next week. This means we should have a good baseline from which to start the test session next Friday morning here in Hockenheim, and we are looking forward to the German Grand Prix."
Fernando Alonso, around whom talk centers of a Ferrari future, set sixth-best time of 1:15.59 in 115 laps. He was followed by Williams runner Kazuki Nakajima, whose teammate Nico Rosberg has set off for a weekend in Moscow to show off the FW30. Nakajima ran 119 laps with a best of 1:15.75.
BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica ran 107 laps with a 1:15.86 best. Jarno Trulli of Toyota followed with a 1:16.06 in 129 laps.
Giancarlo Fisichella suffered first a fuel system failure than a crash in the VJM01. That left him only able to complete 74 laps. His best lap time was 1:16.11.