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Paul Ricard Test Day Two: Raikkonen Takes Charge, Piquet Told To Improve

Paul Ricard Test Day Two: Raikkonen Takes Charge, Piquet Told To Improve

Day two of testing at French circuit Paul Ricard has seen a change in leader as Kimi Raikkonen powered his Ferrari to the top spot, just ahead of Heikki Kovalainen in the McLaren. BMW rounded out the usual top three, with Robert Kubica going marginally quicker than he did yesterday. David Coulthard, Jenson Button and Sebastien Bourdais all ran well during the day, finishing fourth, fifth and sixth quickest respectively.

Nelson Piquet Jr completed the most laps, touring the short, twisty configuration of the track 193 times. The Brazilian driver has come under fire today from his bosses, Piquet Jr being told to improve if he is to cement his future with the Renault team. After comforting the driver with admittance that 2008 is Piquet’s first year in Formula One, Renault Sporting Director Steve Nielson went on to say that his young driver has to sharpen up.

We saw last year with Heikki, he had a difficult start to the season and then he was able to turn it around and I think Nelson has to do the same. Steve Nielson.

Nielson spoke of Piquet’s Turkish race, praising Nelson for doing well on Friday and Saturday, but making an error on Sunday didn’t go down as well with the Renault controllers.

So I think rather than say he’s had a disastrous start to the season, it’s a bit of a curate’s egg – there are good bits and bad bits.

But he needs to start having more good bits than the bad bits, and he needs to start doing that as soon as he can because F1 is a business, it’s a very cut-throat business, and if people don’t deliver they go the obvious way. Steve Nielson.

Stern and poignant words from Nielson, and I feel it is clear that although team chief Flavio Briatore has shown great patience, those above the usually fiery Italian are growing weary of the excuses.

Force India fielded a second car at the test today, the only team to do so. Both race drivers got a chance to rack up the mileage, completing 120 laps between them. Although both cars ended the day at the bottom, Sutil managed to be within 0.024s of ninth-placed Kazuki Nakajima, Fisichella just 0.019s behind his team mate.

1. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m05.381s 102 Laps
2. Heikki Kovalainen McLaren 1m05.471s 89 Laps
3. Robert Kubica BMW 1m05.905s 135 Laps
4. David Coulthard Red Bull Racing 1m.06.001s 82 Laps
5. Jenson Button Honda 1m06.091s 155 Laps
6. Sebastien Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1m06.125s 110 Laps
7. Jarno Trulli Toyota 1m06.205s 120 Laps
8. Nelson Piquet Jr. Renault 1m06.355s 193 Laps
9. Kazuki Nakajima Williams 1m07.080s 129 Laps
10. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m07.104s 56 Laps
11. Giancarlo Fisichella Force India 1m07.123s 64 Laps

Oliver White

3 comments

  • By the 5th race last year, Heikki had 2 points finishes, had finished every race and out-qualified and out-raced Fisi twice out of those 5. If that was a ‘tough start’, then what Piquet is going through is an absolute disaster..

  • Force India only had one car at the test. [url=http://www.f1network.net/main/s495/st129148.htm]Sutil drove in the morning and Fisichella in the afternoon[/url], an arrangement that was reversed for the final day.

    As for Piquet Jr, I think he would have been seriously told off by now from Flavio were it not for his sponsors effectively paying for Alonso’s wages…

  • Thanks Ali! 🙂 Comparing this to Flavio’s reaction to Heikki last year, money almost certainly has come into it somewhere. That and Flavio has Alonso, so all is rosey in the Renault-camp at the moment.

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