Saturday, June 21, 2008

Raikkonen leads home Ferrari clean sweep - French GP - Qualifying

Ferrari utterly dominated qualifying for Sunday’s 70-lap French Grand Prix with Kimi Raikkonen taking the pole position from team-mate Felipe Massa and in doing so recorded a historic 200th pole for the Italian champions.

While Raikkonen celebrates the pole, Massa will be disappointed to lose out on the top position by just five-hundredths of a second, especially as the Brazilian topped the timesheets in both Q1 and Q2. His final run in Q3 saw two minor errors and the time was lost.

McLaren Mercedes had no answer to the pace of Ferrari with Lewis Hamilton making gains on his final run to set the third fastest time. However, with his ten position penalty applied due to his Montreal misdemeanour, Hamilton lines up a distant 13th on the grid.

Fernando Alonso shined once again in qualifying trim in the Renault and will start the race from third position on the grid and with Hamilton taking his penalty, has a realistic chance at a podium position on home soil for Renault.

Jarno Trulli suffered a spin on his penultimate qualifying lap but got the job done as usual for Toyota and starts an impressive fourth position on a weekend the Toyota team mourn the passing of former Team Principal Ove Andersson. Timo Glock starts ninth in the second TF108.

Heikki Kovalainen was unable to challenge the front-runners again in his McLaren and lines up fifth* on the grid ahead of Canadian Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica.

BMW Sauber really struggled in qualifying trim and a third row start will be seen as a good result for Kubica. Team-mate Nick Heidfeld was just six-hundredths of a second slower than Kubica in Q2 but did not make it into the top ten and starts a disappointed 11th.

The Red Bull Renault duo of Mark Webber and David Coulthard have been closely matched all weekend long at Magny Cours. Qualifying was no exception as they line up in seventh and eighth positions respectively.

With Glock starting ninth in the second Toyota, Nelson Piquet is promoted into tenth position courtesy of Hamilton’s grid position penalty. The Brazilian topped the morning practice session in his Renault but just missed out on making it into Q3 this afternoon. Still, it was a much better performance from the Renault rookie.

Sebastian Vettel had been firmly in the top ten throughout practice in his Toro Rosso Ferrari and will therefore be slightly disappointed to line up 12th ahead of the demoted Hamilton. Sebastien Bourdais proved much closer to Vettel in qualifying trim and starts 14th.

Qualifying would prove a major disappointment for the Williams Toyota team. Nico Rosberg set the 15th best time having only just escaped elimination in Q1 but his grid position penalty for his Montreal pit lane infringement drops him to the back of the field. Kazuki Nakajima therefore inherits 15th position on the grid after a poor run and traffic on his final qualifying laps of the day.

Honda has shown little pace all weekend and it is therefore no surprise to see Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello starting 16th and 17th respectively ahead of Force India Ferrari duo Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil.

Weather aside, Ferrari look set to run away with the French Grand Prix.

* It was later announced that Heikki Kovalainen would be demoted five positions on the grid for blocking in qualifying.

© CAPSIS International

Friday, June 20, 2008

Massa and Raikkonen upbeat - French Practice

A lot of work completed by Ferrari in these three hours of free practice on the first day of the French Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa covered around 500 kilometres and the Italian team now has plenty of data to work on with a view to qualifying and especially French Sunday's Grand Prix.

Felipe Massa set the fastest lap of the day with a 1:15.306s in the morning session and was second fastest in the afternoon despite a stiff neck. Raikkonen was third in the morning and fourth in the afternoon.

Felipe Massa
"It was a good day, apart from a slightly tight neck which I began to feel this morning: so as not to take any risks, I chose to avoid doing too many runs of several laps. I therefore concentrated on the car's set-up, working with both types of tyre. On the softer ones, it seems to be a little bit harder to find the right balance, but we must take into account that today, as usual on a Friday, the track is still dirty. Everyone suffered a bit with graining on the front tyres, but tomorrow the situation should improve. We must study all the data we have gathered to prepare as well as possible for qualifying and the race."

Kimi Raikkonen
"I am happy with the way things went during these two free practice sessions. We got through all our usual Friday job list, working mainly towards the race. Of course we don't know how much fuel our main rivals were running, but I get the impression we are very competitive. Maybe I did not get the most out of the first lap, but I am happy with the balance of the car.

We tried out this new system for a Safety Car period and I think it could be a good solution because it puts everyone in the same situation and that way, you can't be penalised just by unfortunate circumstances."

Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal
"Overall, it was a good start to this race weekend. Both drivers declared themselves pleased with the handling of the F2008 on this track. In evaluating the results, the usual unknowns come into consideration, these being the fuel taken on by the other teams and their work schedule, but we can say we are confident for the rest of the weekend. Coming off the back of two negative results, having not fulfilled our potential, it's time to get back to our usual standards."

Luca Baldisserri
"Because Felipe was suffering with a stiff neck this morning, we slightly modified the two drivers' programmes from the usual ones. The Brazilian concentrated on defining the best set-up on the car, while Kimi also had to tackle the task of evaluating the behaviour of both types of Bridgestone tyre available to us. We are happy with the work we did today: the F2008 seemed to be going well on this track and that means we can be cautiously confident for the rest of the weekend."

E.A. © CAPSIS International

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ferrari Mugs

I'm ferrari fan. I use this mug when watching F1 GP, make a coffee or tea.
Go Kimi...
Go Massa...
Go Ferrari...

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