The pre-Italian Grand Prix test got underway today at the Monza circuit, located just North of Milan in one of Italy’s National Parks. With less than two weeks before the teams descend on the track en-masse, much time was spent on refining the set up of the cars. With the old Hockenheim no longer in use (and the new circuit not featuring on the 2007 calendar) Monza has become the fastest circuit which the cars will pound around this year. Indianapolis has it’s long final turn onto the main straight, and Spa has some fast sections, but overall, Monza pips them all for outright speed.
Despite having car-related problems in the morning, Lewis still managed to lap 53 times to just beat Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen by little over a tenth. BMW continued their form with Nick Heidfeld only 0.019s down on Raikkonen in third, and Jarno Trulli set the fourth quickest time over the course of the day. I’m expecting BMW to challenge the top two teams at Monza this year, and so far their testing times would suggest that they can.
Kazuki Nakajima was in play today for Williams, and managed to set a very competitive time, only 0.1s down on Trulli. Sebastian Vettel was a further half second down again in sixth in his Toro Rosso, and Piquet Jr. went seventh for Renault. The Honda drivers Rubens Barrichello and James Rossiter sandwiched Mark Webber in ninth.
The day was cut short as the typical British summer headed out to the continent and dumped a load of rain water on the track. The forecast is similar for tomorrow so the teams may decide to not run, therefore the test could be extended by a day to compensate.
|6.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m25.106s|
|7.||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Renault||1m25.366s|
|9.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1m25.427s|