TIGHT AT THE TOP AS FORMULA ONE BREAKS NEW GROUND Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) was second fastest on the opening day of practice for the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix. The Colombian was just 0.001s adrift of Ferrari rival ...
TIGHT AT THE TOP AS FORMULA ONE BREAKS NEW GROUND
Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) was second fastest on the opening day of practice for the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix. The Colombian was just 0.001s adrift of Ferrari rival Rubens Barrichello. Times were very closely matched throughout the field and less than nine tenths of a second covered the top 10, which featured five Michelin teams. BAR Honda test driver Anthony Davidson was third overall and second best of the Michelin runners, just 0.037s behind Montoya. The fastest drivers from Michelin's six partners were covered by little more than a second.
As expected, track temperatures have been extremely hot - more than 50 degrees at times - and there have been a higher than usual number of spins during the day as drivers adjust to a new track Jaguar Racing rookie Christian Klien was fifth overall and third of the Michelin runners McLaren Mercedes star Kimi Räikkönen's troubled start to the season continued. The Finn, who has yet to finish a race this year, was forced to pull off right at the start of the afternoon's session because of a technical problem.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"We have brought three different dry-weather tyres to this event and all have been very suitable for the conditions we have encountered so far. The track has evolved a great deal since cars first ran this morning and will doubtless continue to do so throughout the weekend - that is a traditional characteristic of any new venue."
"This makes a definitive tyre choice tricky, of course, because drivers and engineers need to predict the rate of evolution as accurately as possible when they make their definitive tyre choice this evening. I would like to congratulate the Bahraini authorities on doing a very good job here at Sakhir. This is a fine track with an interesting layout and a really good surface that offers plenty of grip."
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:
"Three of our drivers suffered damaged tyres during the course of today's free practice. We have found identical marks on all three affected tyres and they all suffered kerb impact damage prior to deflating. Michelin has collaborated with the FIA's technical department in order to establish what caused three of its tyres to sustain damage during today's second free practice session."
"An inspection of the track has revealed that two drainage hatches have become detached from their concrete bases, creating sharp ridges that will damage any tyre that crosses them. A temporary cure has been set up for today's remaining track activities and a permanent solution will be in place before F1 practice resumes tomorrow morning."