Schumacher's show for home fans Michael Schumacher set off Ferrari's home-coming in style today, dominating both practice sessions for the Italian Grand Prix in front of the loyal `tifosi'. The 2002 world champion led the morning session by more...
Schumacher's show for home fans
Michael Schumacher set off Ferrari's home-coming in style today, dominating both practice sessions for the Italian Grand Prix in front of the loyal `tifosi'. The 2002 world champion led the morning session by more than half a second before going on to improve his time further still, ending the day with a best lap of 1:22.433, just two tenths of a second off last year's pole position time at the Monza track. After missing most of morning practice, Rubens Barrichello later finished just behind his team-mate with a 1.22.658.
In the morning, Felipe Massa in 7th place with a 1:24.929 was the next best Bridgestone driver after Michael, but the Sauber Petronas driver could not manage to improve on his time after lunch. In the final classification, Giancarlo Fisichella in 11th place led a group of Bridgestone drivers. OrangeArrows is not taking part in this weekend's grand prix.
Hisao Suganuma, technical manager, Bridgestone Motorsport:
"As we know the key issue for tyres at this circuit is heat durability because of the heat-generating, long corners. That was uppermost in our minds in choosing the specs for this race. From today's performance I feel encouraged that the choice seems to have been the right one. A couple of drivers did some long runs today which has given us some invaluable data to work with. Wear rates were as we expected, with this circuit not causing any problems for the tyres."
The Tyre Choice
Both dry weather specifications this weekend are new, in particular both are of a new construction developed to meet the specific demands of the Monza circuit. The rain tyre choice consists of two intermediates and one full wet tyre.
Hisao Suganuma said: "One of the specs in particular showed very good heat durability today, while the other may be more marginal. There was also some general performance difference between the two tyres and we will concentrate on analysing that more specifically this afternoon."
Luca Baldisserri, race engineer, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro:
"We ran a normal Friday programme working towards the race. It was a successful day with Michael's car and we did everything we planned to do. We compared the two Bridgestone tyres available here and they are very close in terms of performance so we need to check the data carefully to make the best choice. With Rubens we had a little problem with the brakes in the first hour so we could not run but in the second session we ran a similar programme to Michael."