Bridgestone Motorsport's Thursday Update Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) set the marker on the opening day of running for the Monaco Grand Prix by using Bridgestone's super soft compound Potenza tyre to set the day's fastest lap time...
Bridgestone Motorsport's Thursday Update
Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) set the marker on the opening day of running for the Monaco Grand Prix by using Bridgestone's super soft compound Potenza tyre to set the day's fastest lap time at the 3.34km Monte Carlo circuit around the slippery streets of the Principality for the sixth round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Hamilton went fastest in the second of today's 90-minute practice sessions, setting a time of 1min 15.140secs. He was almost four tenth faster than the second fastest driver, Nico Rosberg (AT&T Williams). In the morning session Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) went fastest, using the soft compound to set a time of 1min 15.948secs. Hamilton was second fastest in this session, just over two tenths adrift of Raikkonen.
Both Bridgestone's soft and super soft compounds were put through their paces on this testing millionaires' playground. This is the first Grand Prix at which the revised super soft compound has been used, and initial feedback has been that this tyre is an improvement on the previous version. Blue skies and sunshine greeted competitors, which was in contrast to the weather predictions of rain from earlier in the week.
Lap times were faster than those seen in Monaco last year, when weather conditions were comparable. Last year the best time set in Thursday's running was a 1min 15.940secs, set by Fernando Alonso (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) in FP2. Formula One running now has a day off in Monaco before resuming for action with the third practice session and qualifying on Saturday.
Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said: "The first day of running at Monaco is always difficult for data collection as the track surface changes very quickly as the road gets cleaned and rubber goes down. Most laps took place on the soft compound today and we did see more graining than predicted, however this should improve as the track surface gets better. The modified super soft compound received good feedback in terms of grip and traction, although we did not see as big a lap time difference as we expected, but this could change with track improvements. Of course, we have seen forecasts of wet weather for this weekend, and this could change matters completely."
Stats of the Day
Total amount of laps completed by all drivers: 1237 laps
Average number of laps per driver: 62 laps
Most laps by a driver: 73 - Vettel
Fastest lap: 1min 15.140secs - Hamilton (FP2)
Compounds used: Soft / Super soft
Qualifying in 2007
Fernando Alonso (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) set pole position using the super soft Bridgestone Potenza tyre last season with a time of 1min 15.726secs, just under two tenths faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) and Giancarlo Fisichella (ING Renault F1 Team) qualified on the second row.