Ferrari lays down Montreal marker
9 June 2012
Two sessions full of endeavour saw Ferrari rewarded with a brace of top three times on the combined practice results for day one of the Canadian Grand Prix.
While Monaco suggested that the Scuderia's fightback from a disappointing start was continuing apace. The sight of both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa lining up behind pacesetter Lewis Hamilton was further proof that the F2012 was becoming more of a competitive proposition.
Despite their similarities in terms of being street circuits, Canada is a much faster challenge than Monaco, with the cars running the lowest downforce configuration of the season so far. As a result, Ferrari turned up in Monaco with another different aero package, with the two 90-minute sessions again featuring copious quantities of flo-vis paint.
On top of that, the team decided to introduce a new exhaust system, the latest interpretation of the concept that was part of the car when it made its debut in Jerez, which was back-to-backed with that used at the previous two races, adding to the usual evaluation of tyres and brakes, both of which are tested to the max in Montreal.
Even if it's traditional to dismiss Friday's lap times, it was a good start in terms of pace for the Scuderia while, in terms of reliability, Alonso completed 70 laps across the two sessions, exactly the same as Sunday's race distance.
“I am rather pleased with the way things went,” the Spaniard commented, “This morning, we concentrated mainly on evaluating some new updates while, in the afternoon, we worked principally on a comparison of the two types of tyre, looking for performance over a single lap and also to check the behaviour of the car with a lot of fuel on board.
“The first indications seem to be positive, but it is much too soon to draw any conclusions as Friday times should never be taken at face value. Now we must concentrate on analysing the data and prepare as well as possible for the rest of the weekend.”
Massa, buoyed by his best weekend of the season in Monaco, described the day as his best Friday of the year, after finishing third fastest, just a tenth of a second slower than his team-mate and Hamilton.
“It was a very positive Friday for us,” he confirmed, “We managed to do a lot of laps and, above all, test everything we had on our programme. Fortunately, the rain arrived just after the second session had ended, so we managed to do everything properly.
“I think we can be happy with the fact that the updates we have brought here worked, even if it's hard to give an instant assessment of how much of an improvement they have produced. In any case, the intention is to keep the car in this new configuration. The car seems to be well balanced and it seemed to me to be pretty consistent in terms of performance, even if, obviously, the track is not yet providing much grip.”