BUTTON, BAR AND MICHELIN KEEP UP THE PRESSURE IN SPAIN
BAR-Honda racer Jenson Button maintained his impressive run of form by setting fastest Michelin time on the on the opening day of the Spanish Grand Prix meeting in Barcelona. The Englishman, who has finished on the podium in each of the previous three races, lapped the Circuit de Catalunya in 1m 15.935s - the fastest time this afternoon and second on aggregate behind world champion Michael Schumacher.
Button was strongly supported by team-mate Anthony Davidson (second this afternoon, fourth overall), who completed 60 laps during the day. Most Michelin drivers set their quickest times in the second session, in which Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) was third ahead of Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, fourth) and local favourite Fernando Alonso (Renault, fifth).
McLaren star Kimi Räikkönen failed to complete the second session when his car stopped on the track with technical trouble.
Jaguar rookie Christian Klien missed most of today's afternoon session after spinning on his first flying lap. The young Austrian, who was 17th fastest this morning, spun off at Turn Five, Seat Corner. Jaguar tester Björn Wirdheim also ran off the track but the Swede was able to extract his R4 chassis from the gravel.
Takuma Sato (BAR-Honda/Michelin) was eighth fastest this morning but was forced to spend most of the second session in the pits because of car problems.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"Barcelona is different from other tracks at which we have raced so far this season. It is very abrasive and our partner teams' have been working particularly hard to assess the best tyre option for Sunday. Between them, the test drivers on Michelin tyres have completed some unusually long runs for a Friday and these have confirmed that all our dry-weather options are well suited to the track."
"Conditions have evolved significantly during the day -- they are much less abrasive now than they were this morning, but rain remains a possibility and a heavy shower could put things back to square one. Drivers have to make their final choice before tomorrow morning's final free practice sessions, of course, and it could be a marginal decision."