There is not much to report from practice one in Monza, except heavy rain, flooded pit lane and water in the garages. For the record the top three drivers were Adrian Sutil, Rubens Barrichello and Giancarlo Fisichella. This is the second time Adrian Sutil posted fastest time in free practice, following his P1 in Saturday practice in Monaco last year, also in wet conditions, but not as wet this morning in Monza …
The second practice started on damp track but that would dry rather quickly. Kimi Raikkonen topped the time sheets ahead of BMW Sauber duo and Lewis Hamilton. It remains to be seen how useful the practice running on dry track will be as the weather in Monza remains unpredictable for the rest of the weekend with chances of rain quite big for both Saturday and Sunday.
On another note, Red Bull decided to play their joker and take an change the engine in Mark Webber’s car. As a result of this penalty free engine change Webber will not have to use the same engine for two tough-on-engine races in a row (Spa and Monza). Click here for the 2008 engine statistics.
Friday Practice 2 Times:
Here is the video preview of 2008 Italian GP.
It looks back at the previous Italian F1 GP winners, Christian Danner and Nico Rosberg introduce the Monza track and then it all ends with look into the F1 aero work.
If for any reason the video does not work, you can also see it on Facebook or the F1WolfClub pages.
Michael Schumacher, Robert Kubica, Monza 2006
Monza is the very last of the very high speed circuits in Formula 1. It is not the banked oval track anymore (the last GP that raced on that one was in 1961) but it is still the fastest one on the Formula 1 calendar. About 70% of the track is on full throttle and the top speeds can reach close to 340 km/h. In the past the engine failures were quite common in Monza. These days it is different, the engines seldom blow up (unless they are called Ferrari this season ). What can make the difference is having to run in Monza with the same engine that finished the other engine tough race in Spa … Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica, Nelson Piquet, Fernando Alonso, Jarno Trulli, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Sebastien Bourdais and Giancarlo Fisichella should all have fresh engines for the Monza race. I suspect that following his crash in Spa, Kimi Raikkonen may also opt to go fresh. This is where Ferraris may have some advantage over their McLaren rivals.
Aerodynamicaly the cars run with a minimum amount of downforce to achieve the maximum amount of top speed. Therefore in Monza the cars run with the tiniest of wings.
Here is a short re-cap of how Kimi Raikkonen’s season went from Australia to Brazil, race by race.
AUSTRALIAN GP – 1st
Raikkonen 10 (+2)
MALAYSIAN GP – 3rd
Raikkonen 16 (-2)
The Ferrari home race finally brought at least some racing action. The lower pit lane speed limit made 1 stop strategy feasible and eleven drivers opted for it. For some it meant shot at a point finish, for some it was only way to compete. They were all clearly helped by the safety car early on in the race and this for sure assisted some proper racing later on.
McLarens looked to have upper hand over Ferraris after all the weekend. The Ferrari case was not helped by Massa early retirement. The Maranello guys should do something about their reliability issues…
McLaren 1-2, DNF for Massa, points for BMW, Renault, Williams, Honda.
1)F. Alonso – McLaren 1:18:37.806
2)L. Hamilton – McLaren + 6.062
3)K. Räikkönen – Ferrari + 27.325
4)N. Heidfeld – BMW + 56.562
5)R. Kubica – BMW + 1:00.558
6)N. Rosberg – Williams + 1:05.810
7)H. Kovalainen – Renault + 1:06.751
8)J. Button – Honda + 1:12.168
McLaren occupies the front row for tomorrow race. Pole position for Alonso, P2 for Hamilton. Heidfeld split 2 Ferraris and will start from P4 behind Massa but ahead of Raikkonen. Honda made rare appearance in Q3 with what looked like heavily fueled Button getting P10. Kovalainen and Trulli made it to Q3 unlike their team mates.
1)F. Alonso – McLaren 1:21.997
2)L. Hamilton – McLaren 1:22.034
3)F. Massa – Ferrari 1:22.549
4)N. Heidfeld – BMW 1:23.174
5)K. Räikkönen – Ferrari 1:23.183
6)R. Kubica – BMW 1:23.446
It looks like Ferrari has some job to do if they want to win their home race. Raikkonen heavy crash on Saturday followed his technical problems on Friday. He walked away unhurt, but it remains to be seen if he will be able to fit his engine and gear box into the spare car and aoind grid penalty. The fastest time in the fina practice went to Alonso ahead of Hamilton. Massa was quite a bit behind McLarens. Williams and BMW continue to show good speed on this track.
Saturday Free Practice:
1) F. Alonso – McLaren 1:22.054 10
2) L. Hamilton – McLaren 1:22.200 11
3) F. Massa – Ferrari 1:22.615 11
4) N. Heidfeld – BMW 1:22.855 15
5) R. Kubica – BMW 1:23.287 14
6) N. Rosberg – Williams 1:23.454 13
7) A. Wurz – Williams 1:23.596 15
8) J. Trulli – Toyota 1:23.672 16
9) H. Kovalainen – Renault 1:23.672 12
10) M. Webber – Red Bull 1:23.708 13
11) J. Button – Honda 1:23.803 15
12) R. Barrichello – Honda 1:23.830 14
13) S. Vettel – Toro Rosso 1:23.853 14
14) G. Fisichella – Renault 1:23.877 12
15) A. Davidson – Super Aguri 1:23.942 12
16) T. Sato – Super Aguri 1:24.022 16
17) D. Coulthard – Red Bull 1:24.055 12
18) R. Schumacher – Toyota 1:24.167 13
19) V. Liuzzi – Toro Rosso 1:24.208 15
20) K. Räikkönen – Ferrari 1:24.442 3
21) S. Yamamoto – Spyker F1 1:24.736 17
22) A. Sutil – Spyker F1 1:24.943 18
Ferraris were a bit ahead of McLarens in the first practice, with fastest time going to Raikkonen. Alonso’s session was hampered by technical problems, so his time may not reflect the true performance of his car. Rosberg had his usual quick practice session. Button’s time may surprise few. Spyker’s new car seems to be step ahead, if nothing else they closed the gap on and maybe even got ahead of Toro Rossos.
There are only 2 Grands Prix that never missed the F1 calendar – British and Italian. While the British GP changed the venues few times, all the Italian Grand Prix F1 races were held in Monza.
The Monza venue has 3 tracks – the current Grand Prix track, a junior track, and the old, historic high speed track with steep bankings – see the video in the article.