Massa leads the way at Silverstone

A rejuvenated Felipe Massa charged to the top of the timesheets on the opening day of testing at Silverstone as crucial preparation gets underway for the British grand Prix.

Massa, fresh from his unexpected victory in the French Grand Prix, surged to the top spot in the morning with a lap of 1m 20.188, over half a second quicker than Kimi Raikkonen’s fastest lap in the race last year – a race the Finn dominated. He was unchallenged for the remainder of the day.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing for the newly crowned championship leader; his Ferrari came to halt in the last half hour of the day, bringing out the red flags and halting proceedings.

Heikki Kovalainen pulled a string of flying laps together in the afternoon to go second quickest as McLaren set about making amends for their disastrous French Grand Prix. The Finn struggled to match Massa’s pace in the morning session but ended just three tenths shy of the Brazilian.

Robert Kubica, who had torrid turn of fortunes in France after struggling with the handling of his F1.08 – only one race on from his sensational victory in Canada – wound up third quickest, two tenths of a second shy of Kovalainen.

Toyota’s third driver Kamui Kobayashi was an impressive fourth fastest, ahead of Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber.

Nelson Piquet, who finally turned his lack-lustre season around in France with a sterling drive to seventh place, lapped eighth quickest ahead of Jenson Button (Honda), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India), and Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso).

<pre>
1. Felipe Massa 1:20.188
2. Heikki Kovalainen 1:20.477
3. Robert Kubica 1:20.995
4. Kamui Kobayashi 1:21.335
5. Nico Rosberg 1:21.410
6. Mark Webber 1:21.565
7. Nelson Piquet: 1:21.797
8. Jenson Button 1:22.081
9. Vitantoio Liuzzi 1:23.853</pre>