MICHELIN QUICKEST, BUT RAIN WIPES OUT OPENING DAY AT SPA Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) was fastest on the opening day of the Belgi an Grand Prix meeting at Spa, but a series of heavy showers - some of them prolonged - ...
MICHELIN QUICKEST, BUT RAIN WIPES OUT OPENING DAY AT SPA
Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) was fastest on the opening day of the Belgi an Grand Prix meeting at Spa, but a series of heavy showers - some of them prolonged - restricted drivers to precious few laps. Conditions were so wet in the second of the day's two sessions that only three drivers bothered to venture out of the pits.
Räik könen lapped in 1m48.206s during the closing moments of the opening session, when the track was dry enough to permit use of standard grooved tyres. The Finn was 0.010s quicker than McLaren test driver Alexander Wurz. Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), Ricardo Zonta (Toyota), Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) and Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda) completed an all-Michelin top six.
Antonio Pizzonia (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) is deputising for Nick Heidfeld once again this weekend, to give the German more time to recuperate from a recent testing accident at Monza. Pizzonia's day got off to a troubled start - he crashed at the high-speed Blanchimont corner during the closing moments of the opening free practice session.
Today's second session was red-flagged almost immediately after Red Bull test driver Vitantonio Liuzzi slid off the track in treacherous conditions. The Italian struck the barriers with considerable force at Les Combes. The track re-opened nine minutes later - to an accompaniment of thunder and lightning.
Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) could make history on Sunday by becoming the youngest driver ever to clinch the F1 world championship. The Spaniard did not complete a timed lap today.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"I have been saying all season that I was keen to see our latest wet-weather tyres in action, but this afternoon there was simply too much rain for it to be worth teams going out. "There is very little to say at the end of a day such as this. Fernando Alonso completed just a single lap on a set of maxi-wets this afternoon."
This morning our partners began on intermediates, although they were able to switch pretty quickly to dry-weather tyres. The results were inconclusive, though, because the track was particularly abrasive and in drying conditions it is only natural that times get faster by the lap. With teams having completed so few meaningful laps, tyre choice for the balance of the weekend will be deferred until after tomorrow's free practice sessions."