Davidson Excels Again as Michelin Runners Dominate Top 12 B*A*R-Honda test driver Anthony Davidson maintained his season-long run of impressive form by setting the quickest Michelin time - and second fastest lap overall - on the opening day of...
Davidson Excels Again as Michelin Runners Dominate Top 12
B*A*R-Honda test driver Anthony Davidson maintained his season-long run of impressive form by setting the quickest Michelin time - and second fastest lap overall - on the opening day of the United States GP at Indianapolis. Davidson's 1m 10.967s lap was 0.703s faster than Kimi Räikkönen's pole position time for Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin in last season's corresponding fixture. The Englishman was one of 10 drivers from all six of Michelin's partner teams to post a top-12 time during the faster free practice session in the afternoon. The others were Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, third), Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda, fifth), Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, sixth), Cristiano da Matta (Toyota, seventh), Olivier Panis (Toyota, eighth), Ricardo Zonta (Toyota, ninth), Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes, 10th), Mark Webber (Jaguar, 11th) and Jarno Trulli (Renault, 12th).
Today's free practice sessions were both interrupted by red flags. Minardi driver Gianmaria Bruni spun and blocked the track during the opening hour. Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin) and Felipe Massa (Sauber) collided at Turn One in the afternoon and marshals needed time to clear the Japanese driver's stricken car.
This is the first time the United States GP has taken place in june since Indianapolis began hosting the event in 2000. Track temperatures nudged the 50-degree mark during the day.
Jaguar test driver Björn Wirdheim was sixth fastest in the morning session - the reigning FIA F3000 champion's best performance since he joined the British team at the start of the season.
Renault star Fernando Alonso failed to set a representative time in the second session after spinning into a gravel trap at Turn 11.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director
"I am really pleased with the way our two dry-weather compounds have performed so far - they have been fast and consistent and there hasn't been much to choose between them. It is quite possible that both will be used in the race, although we have to sift through plenty of data before any firm decisions are taken.
"It has been quite an interesting day from a technical perspective, because our six partner teams have been trying to determine a set-up that will generate sufficient grip through the infield without compromising top speed on the long main straight. They have had to cope with testing conditions, too - track temperatures flirted with 50 degrees, the hottest conditions F1 teams have encountered at Indianapolis, but we had no problems with excessive wear or blistering. That puts us in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the weekend.
"The track has evolved a great deal today. It was very 'green' this morning in the wake of yesterday's thunderstorm - and consequently very slippery. Things have settled down considerably, however, so grip levels have increased while wear rates have diminished. If the rain holds off, I expect that pattern to continue tomorrow."