BMW’s Nick Heidfeld set the fastest overall time on day two of Formula One’s Monza test, with championship leaders Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton book-ending him with the fastest laps on the first and last days.
All 20 race drivers spent time on track, with Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi the only official tester to get a turn behind the wheel for the whole three days.
Teams mixed general set-up runs and testing of components such as brakes with experiments in the finding the right approach to racing at the historic high-speed circuit, which will host the next-but-one race.
On day one, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa continued his recent run at the front by topping the time sheets, ahead of McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen.
The Brazilian covered 101 laps while working on the car’s overall set-up, with a fastest time of 1m 23.428s. Kovalainen’s 78 laps were aimed more precisely at evaluating the low downforce aero package the team is working on for the race at Monza.
Behind these two Nico Rosberg set the third-fastest time, with Sebastian Vettel and Rubens Barrichello the other two drivers to break the 1m 24 barrier.
Behind them were Mark Webber, Nick Heidfeld, Force India tester Vitantonio Liuzzi, Jarno Trulli – who suffered a delayed start to the day because of mechanical problems – and Nelson Piquet in that order.
Day two saw the fastest laps of the three-day tests as two drivers, Heidfeld and Rosberg, broke into the 1m 22s, with the BMW driver the faster by two tenths of a second.
Toro Rosso and Honda each split their driving duties, sending out Vettel and Barrichello in the morning followed by Sebastien Bourdais and Jenson Button in the afternoon. Only Vettel impressed, setting the fourth-fastest time for the second day in a row, while the other three propped up the timesheets.
Massa switched to working on Ferrari’s Monza set-up and was two hundredths of a second behind Vettel, while Kovalainen ran third for McLaren.
Fernando Alonso, Adrian Sutil and Webber were the other drivers to break 1m 24, with Trulli, Bourdais and Barrichello in the 1m 24s and Button slowest of all with 1m 25.049.
Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen came out on day three and grabbed the top two spots, with the McLaren driver the only one in the session to break into the 1m 22s.
Behind them was a fast-running Giancarlo Fisichella, then Williams’ good form was continued by Kazuki Nakajima in fourth. David Coulthard, Alonso, Bourdais and Timo Glock also set times in the 1m 23s.
Slowest were Robert Kubica, who suffered from a minor electrical problem and an accident that required repair work, and – again – Button.
He said: “This week’s test has been useful in developing our direction for the next two races. We have worked on finalising the downforce packages required for Spa and Monza along with an initial study of the tire compounds.
“Although we have made some progress, the balance of the car is not where I would like it to be, particularly for Monza, and we need to analyse the data carefully to make improvements before the race weekend.”
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:23.428 (101 laps)
- Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:23.439 (78 laps)
- Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:23.461 (60 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:23.691 (99 laps)
- Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:23.827 (85 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:24.005 (96 laps)
- Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:24.075 (77 laps)
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:24.239 (99 laps)
- Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:24.510 (92 laps)
- Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:24.540 (117 laps)
- Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:22.621 (89 laps)
- Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1: 22.879 (100 laps)
- Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1: 23.341 (92 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1: 23.424 (47 laps)
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1: 23.445 (86 laps)
- Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:23.606 (95 laps)
- Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:23.823 (92 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:23.936 (103 laps)
- Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:24.158 (77 laps)
- Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:24.311 (44 laps)
- Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:24.695 (51 laps)
- Jenson Button, Honda, 1:25.049 (42 laps)
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:22.967 (97 laps)
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:23.371 (79 laps)
- Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:23.632 (114 laps)
- Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:23.634 (99 laps)
- David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:23.737 (120 laps)
- Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:23.820 (80 laps)
- Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:23.865 (77 laps)
- Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:23.897 (79 laps)
- Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:24.089 (57 laps)
- Jenson Button, Honda, 1:24.321 (96 laps)