A lap time faster than last season's pole position showed that a new track surface and cooler than usual track temperatures did not prove to be a challenge for Bridgestone's medium and soft compound Potenzas in the first day of running for the...
A lap time faster than last season's pole position showed that a new track surface and cooler than usual track temperatures did not prove to be a challenge for Bridgestone's medium and soft compound Potenzas in the first day of running for the Grand Prix de France at Magny Cours.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen set the time shod with the soft compound Potenza in the morning practice session. The 1min 15.382 secs time was over a tenth faster than the pole lap of 1min 15.493secs set by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in 2006.
There was some anticipation before the practice session because two thirds of the 4.411 km circuit has been resurfaced as 22 Bridgestone Potenza shod cars took to the track. In addition to the new asphalt, the ambient and track temperatures have been lower than is usually the case for this Grand Prix, but this presented no difficulties for the 2007 specification Bridgestone Potenzas with their wide temperature operating window.
Raikkonen was faster than team-mate Felipe Massa in the morning by 0.065secs and in the afternoon it was Massa fastest from Raikkonen. The Scuderia Toro Rosso duo of Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi ended the second practice session with the third and fifth fastest times respectively, with Speed praising both compounds of Potenza on his in car radio: "The medium is easily as good as the soft, of course it feels a little bit harder but the stability of the car is better and we didn't sacrifice grip."
Kees van de Grint, Bridgestone Motorsport Head of Track Engineering Operations:
"We did have an amount of anticipation before we came to Magny Cours because so much of the circuit had been resurfaced that we had to go on our computer predictions for tyre choice. It always provides excitement for us when this is the case and today the theory proved correct."
"From today's performance the medium and the soft are perfectly suited to this track. Both exhibited some graining, how much graining was related to chassis set-up, but it was too little to cause me concern. It was interesting to see that some drivers set their fastest time with the medium compound and both compounds will provide teams with a wide range of strategy options."
"On the final corner some drivers were taking the French name for racing drivers, 'pilotes', a little too literally by attacking the kerbs aggressively which pitched their cars into the air, but this caused no problem for the Bridgestones."
Stats of the Day
Total amount of laps completed by all drivers: 1282
Average number of laps per car: 58 laps
Most laps by a driver: 72 - Trulli, Liuzzi, Barrichello
Fastest lap: 1min 15.382secs - Raikkonen (FP1)
Compounds: Medium and soft