Ferrari’s Felipe Massa has followed up his serendipitous victory in the French Grand Prix by topping the timesheets in the first day of Silverstone testing – a circuit that has always played well to the Italian team’s strengths.
A close contest between the three leading outfits saw Massa top the timesheet on 1:20.188, with McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen less than three tenths of a second behind him on 1:20.477 and BMW’s Robert Kubica half a second back from him on 1:20.995.
Behind these three race drivers Toyota tester Kamui Kobayashi was the first not to break the 1:21 barrier. The Williams, Red Bull and Renault cars were all in the 1:21 range, while the Honda, Force India and Toro Rosso cars put in times below 1:22.
The McLaren team confirmed after the test that it had covered 463km and that its programme had centred on evaluation of a new fuel and formulation of Mobil 1 lubricant as well as initial evaluation of new aero parts and mileage out on new mechanical components.
It confirmed that Kovalainen was due to continue in the car for day two of the three-day test.
The Red Bull team’s write-up of the day reported the following: “As usual at the summer Silverstone test, there were more guests, fans and spectators in the F1 paddock that can be seen filling entire circuits at some of the less popular grands prix on the calendar.
“None of this affected the work of the Red Bull Racing test team, as they got on with the job of preparing for the British Grand Prix which takes place at this track on 6th July.
“Mark Webber was in the cockpit today, working on various aero and mechanical development programmes. There were no problems and the team completed more than the planned mileage, which could be a good thing as there is talk of rain for tomorrow.
“Mark is due to continue driving on Wednesday when the emphasis changes to British GP preparation, looking at car set-up and evaluation of the Bridgestone tyres on offer.”
Honda’s Jenson Button was the only British driver taking part and was seeking to get to grips with his RA108 after a mystifyingly bad weekend for the team in France culminated in an early race shunt, a broken nosecone and a retirement.
Former Toro Rosso race driver Vitantonio Liuzzi was on an outing for Force India, and was not the slowest of the field, an honour reserved for the team’s current driver Sebastian Vettel who was only able to put in 10 laps and record a fastest time of 1:23.853. His Toro Rosso STR3 experienced mechanical problems and did not last the morning.
Timesheet for day one
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:20.188 (71 laps)
- Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren: 1:20.477 (90 laps)
- Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber: 1:20.995 (82 laps)
- Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota: 1:21.335 (82 laps)
- Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1:21.410 (88 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:21.656 (94 laps)
- Nelson A Piquet, Renault: 1:21.797 (68 laps)
- Jenson Button, Honda : 1:22.081 (90 laps)
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:22.250 (122 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso: 1:23.853 (10 laps)