The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team had a reasonable first day of practice at Imola, ahead of Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix.

With a damp circuit for the first session and a dry one for the second, Giancarlo Fisichella finished the day 15th fastest with a best lap of 1m28.322s, while team-mate Jenson Button was close behind in 17th place, with a time of 1m28.902s.

Engineering director Pat Symonds explained the team's day, saying:
"During this mornings practice session it was quite difficult to test the wet tyres as the circuit conditions where changing rapidly, but by following a different programme with each car we were able to make some decisions. In the afternoon when the circuit dried up we worked on our normal race set up with some success."

Giancarlo Fisichella was generally satisfied with his performance in front of his home crowd, saying: "If I can be 15th tomorrow during qualifying it wouldn't be too bad, even though I am at my home circuit where I would like be among the top three rows. We worked on the race set up today and have improved on the slow corners where I had too much understeering before. In general we need much more grip and some more experience."

Jenson Button admitted that he had a more difficult time, but added that he was confident for Saturday's all important qualifying session: "I did not have a very good morning I'm afraid. It seems that we've lost some power, which now what we have to work on. I had some understeer in the corners but we sorted that out during the session and it is now under control."

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team will be back on track on Saturday morning for the final two practice sessions ahead of qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix.

- Benetton F1