MICHELIN PARTNERS ON WIZARD FORM IN OZ Honda/Michelin test driver Anthony Davidson set the pace on the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix meeting in Melbourne. Track conditions improved during the day and the Englishman worked his way down...
MICHELIN PARTNERS ON WIZARD FORM IN OZ
Honda/Michelin test driver Anthony Davidson set the pace on the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix meeting in Melbourne. Track conditions improved during the day and the Englishman worked his way down to 1m 26.822s during the afternoon session. Earlier, he had also been quicker during the morning's first free practice.
Michelin drivers annexed seven of the top 10 positions on aggregate. Robert Kubica (BMW-Sauber) was third, ahead of Jenson Button (Honda, fourth - and fastest of the regular race drivers), world championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault, fifth), Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes, seventh), Rubens Barrichello (Honda, eighth) and Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren-Mercedes, ninth).
Scuderia Toro Rosso/Michelin test driver Neel Jani spun off the track and hit the retaining wall at Turn Nine during this morning's first free practice. His car was not seriously damaged. Team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi was in the wars during the afternoon: he crashed at Turn 12.
BMW/Michelin reserve Robert Kubica was also in trouble during the first session. He pulled off the circuit after 33 minutes when his engine began smoking.
Nick Shorrock, Michelin Formula One director:
"This has been an interesting opening day. It was difficult getting our tyres to reach their optimum operating window this morning, because temperatures were cool and the asphalt is traditionally very 'green' here - it's important to remember that this is not a permanent circuit and thus takes longer to 'rubber in'."
"Conditions picked up significantly this afternoon, when cars completed a greater number of laps and laid down more rubber. That gave us a much clearer idea of how well the eight different Michelin specifications, across our partners teams, are suited to the conditions."
"All of them have performed very well, so much so that our six partners are likely to face a delicate choice when selecting between 'prime' and 'option' compounds tomorrow. It has been an encouraging start to the weekend."