Juan Pablo Montoya topped the times on the second day of testing at Monza, as seven other F1 teams joined Ferrari at the home of the Italian Grand Prix.

Putting his error at Istanbul last weekend to one side, Montoya powered to a fastest lap of 1min 19.880secs to end the day over a second clear of current championship leader Fernando Alonso, despite only taking to the track in the afternoon as McLaren elected to give all four drivers time behind the wheel.

Alonso enjoyed a trouble free day, setting a best time of 1min 20.856secs while Giancarlo Fisichella finished half a second behind in third as the Italian started preparations for his home Grand Prix.

"We had a very good day's testing, with some encouraging results and excellent reliability," Renault's chief test engineer Christian Silk said. "It is always difficult coming to Monza on the first day, as the drivers need some time to adapt to the low downforce configurations and the circuit is often quite dirty.

"However, Fernando and Giancarlo both settled in quickly and we were able to complete plenty of set-up work before beginning our evaluation of tyre compounds and constructions for the race weekend."

Behind the two Renaults came a train of McLarens, with Alex Wurz, Pedro de la Rosa and Kimi Raikkonen rounding out the top six. Test drivers Wurz and de la Rosa took to the track during the morning, both completing their programmes without problems until de la Rosa spun his MP4-20 into the gravel on his in lap.

While Montoya was able to take over from Wurz for a full afternoon behind the wheel, a gearbox issue on the second car meant Raikkonen was only able to complete 6 laps and was just over two seconds off the pace of the Columbian. Both Montoya and Raikkonen will continue testing tomorrow.

Behind F1s current 'big two' teams, Ricardo Zonta emerged as best of the rest as he took seventh place in the leading Toyota, narrowly edging out David Coulthard in the Red Bull Cosworth - the two split by just 0.002secs.

Entering day two of their test, Ferrari took ninth and tenth place with Luca Badoer joining Felipe Massa behind the wheel.

The duo continued the work started on Tuesday by Massa and Rubens Barrichello, with the focus again on set-up and Bridgestone tyre development work ahead of the up-coming Italian Grand Prix. Badoer ended the day with a best lap of 1min 22.303secs only narrowly quicker than the man who will race for the Scuderia in 2006. Badoer will be joined by Michael Schumacher for the third day of the Ferrari test tomorrow.

Williams spent the opening day of it's test trying to discover cause of the tyres issues the team suffered from in Istanbul, when both Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld suffered right rear punctures. For the opening day of the test, Webber was joined by youngster Nico Rosberg, with Webber eleventh and Rosberg half a second behind in 13th.

"Following the tyre incidents in Istanbul, the team spent the first day of the Monza test analysing the potential cause of the problem," technical director Sam Michael said. "Williams and Michelin have investigated the tyre running parameters, such as pressure and camber, and concluded that the tyres were running within normal operating ranges compared to other cars. It is not thought that the curbs caused the problem.

"Additionally, Williams have set up tyre deflection tests in Grove to verify what parts of the bodywork the tyre could have contacted during the high speed left hander at Istanbul. A number of changes will be made during the test this week to avoid the problem occurring again."

Sandwiched between the two Williams, Jacques Villeneuve completed a trouble free day at the wheel of the lone Sauber, with the Canadian spending the day working on aerodynamics and set-up work in preparation for next weekends Grand Prix.

"The focus of our test programme this week will obviously be the preparation for the Italian Grand Prix next week," test engineer Paul Russell said. "Today we have worked a lot on the aerodynamic side but also on the set-up for Monza. The test was going quite well and without technical problems, and we were able to assess all different configurations which we had planned to check.

"Tomorrow we will confirm the aerodynamic configuration for the next race and further work on the set-up for Jacques' car. We have also planned to start the tyre selection for Monza, and by the end of the day we should be able to finalise the race specification for Jacques. On Friday, Felipe will continue the tyre programme, and by comparing both drivers' evaluations we will make our tyre choice."

Vitanatonio Liuzzi was 14th quickest in the second Red Bull ahead of the lone Jordan of Tiago Monteiro and Olivier Panis who continued work with the V8 engine Toyota will use when the new regulations come into play in 2006. Team-mate Ralf Schumacher failed to set a lap time.

BAR were due to join the test today but instead elected not to run to save their limited quota of testing days. They are set to take to the track tomorrow, as are Minardi - meaning all ten F1 teams are due to be in action.

Leading times: day two - Monza.

1. Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 1min 19.880secs 50 laps M
2. Fernando Alonso Renault-Renault 1min 20.856secs 101 laps M
3. Giancarlo Fisichella Renault-Renault 1min 21.316secs 95 laps M
4. Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1min 21.697secs 49 laps M
5. Pedro de la Rose McLaren-Mercedes 1min 21.911secs 56 laps M
6. Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes 1min 21.971secs 6 laps M
7. Ricardo Zonta Toyota-Toyota 1min 21.995secs 108 laps M
8. David Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth 1min 21.997secs 57 laps M
9. Luca Badoer Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 22.303secs 129 laps B
10. Felipe Massa Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 22.416secs 91 laps B
11. Mark Webber Williams-BMW 1min 22.494secs 44 laps M
12. Jacques Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas 1min 22.896secs 100 laps M
13. Nico Rosberg Williams-BMW 1min 22.952secs 53 laps M
14. Vitantonio Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth 1min 23.188secs 36 laps M
15. Tiago Monteiro Jordan-Toyota 1min 24.678secs 60 laps B
16. Olivier Panis Toyota-Toyota [V8] 1min 27.984secs 79 laps M
17. Ralf Schumacher Toyota-Toyota No time 7 laps M

B - denotes Bridgestone tyres.
M - denotes Michelin tyres.

All times unofficial - courtesy of McLaren.

Comparative lap times:

Italian GP 2004:

Fastest lap: Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1min 21.046secs Pole position: Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1min 20.089secs

 

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