Fresh from his victory in the European Grand Prix on the streets of Valencia, Felipe Massa set the quickest time as a three-day Formula 1 group test kicked off at Monza.
The Brazilian spent much of his day working through a programme that was focused on helping the Scuderia
develop the aerodynamics the team plans to use for the upcoming Italian Grand Prix back at the famed circuit.
Massa also worked on set-up on the car and completed three long runs during the afternoon, ending up with a quickest time of 1min 23.428secs from his 101 laps.
Behind Massa, Heikki Kovalainen was second fastest for McLaren and was barely 0.011secs away from ending the opening day on top of the times, The Finn completed 78 laps during the day as he worked on evaluation of the Monza-specification downforce package, with his focus primarily on braking and set-up work.
Williams also spent the day preparing for the Italian Grand Prix and were rewarded with the third quickest time thanks to Nico Rosberg. He was only 0.022secs away from Kovalainen on a tightly-fought day of testing and ran without any major issues.
“Nico Rosberg opened our three day test at Monza today,” test team manager Dickie Stanford said. “It's been a productive day, with the team concentrating on set-up evaluations ahead of the race here in a couple of weekend's time. We experienced no major problems and Nico will continue testing tomorrow.”
Another driver to have performed strongly in Valencia, Sebastian Vettel, posted the fourth fastest time working to a programme that not only focused on Monza, but also saw him evaluate new front suspension and aerodynamic components for use at other venues. He was two tenths of a second clear of Rubens Barrichello in fifth, while the top six was completed by Mark Webber for Red Bull Racing as the Australian focused on finding a good base Monza set-up which the team will now work on refining during the remaining two days.
Nick Heidfeld was seventh for BMW Sauber having worked on suspension set-up, gearbox ratios and brake balance on the F1.08 with Tonio Liuzzi eighth for Force India.
Minor mechanical issues delayed the start of Toyota's test programme, although Jarno Trulli was able to complete over 90 laps as he posted the ninth quickest lap, while Nelson Piquet completed the ten drivers to hit the track and complete more laps than anyone else for Renault as he tried out the Monza aerodynamic package.
“It was a good day's work and nice to complete so many laps,” he said. “It's the fastest circuit of the year and so we were trying out our low downforce package, which went well, although it always feels strange to drive with such little downforce on the car. The track was also quite green, which didn't help, but I was happy with the set-up work we completed, even though we still have a lot to learn.”
Testing continues tomorrow.
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