Bridgestone on top at wet Imola
Changing wet conditions saw all three of Bridgestone's rain tyres in action on the first day of the San Marino Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher dominated the time sheets, ending the day with a fastest lap of 1:36.898. The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver was quickest through all three sectors of the undulating track but his afternoon was over, however, on the next lap when he spun 15 minutes from the end. His teammate Rubens Barrichello finished second, with Giancarlo Fisichella third for DHL Jordan Honda.
All Bridgestone's teams ran on wet weather tyres in the morning, most trying both types of normal wet. A drying track after lunch gave them the opportunity to try the intermediates.
Hisao Suganuma, technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport, said: "All three of our wet weather specifications worked well and the performance itself was quite competitive. In the later part of the session, the grip seemed to reduce but overall the performance was encouraging."
The Tyre Choice
Bridgestone has brought the same range of wet weather tyres available at the first three races this year, an intermediate and two types of normal wet. Rain last week in Valencia and Fiorano means Bridgestone's teams have done some recent wet weather testing. If it is dry for qualifying, Bridgestone's teams have a new specification and a race-winning tyre to choose from.
Hisao Suganuma said: "We tested here in February and that gave us a lot of useful information when we came to develop the specifications for this track. If it is wet tomorrow but dry on Sunday, our teams will be relying on our advice and the data from that test to choose their race tyre."
Ross Brawn, technical director of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, said: "We expect the weather tomorrow to be similar to today so we wanted to get plenty of running in to set the car up for the wet. We ran one of the wet tyres and an intermediate. Michael touched a kerb on the exit of the chicane then unfortunately the engine stalled, but it was nothing serious. Our car is working well and we have had the benefit of testing here so the car was quite well balanced even in the wet."
Gary Anderson, head of race and test engineering, DHL Jordan Honda, said: "The conditions seemed to suit the tyres quite well. We ran the two different types of wet tyre and tried the intermediate at the end but really it was still too wet for that tyre. The choice between the two normal wets depends on the amount of water on the track, but the car feels a little more secure on one of them. The intermediate is a good tyre with quite a large span in terms of the conditions it works in but it would still be nice to see a dry race."