Ferrari’s first day of running in Montreal bore an all too similar resemblance to the frustration of Monaco with both scarlet drivers unable to unleash the full potential of the F2008 admidst tricky track conditions.
Felipe Massa, the pace-setter in the morning warm-up, was forced to bring his F2008 to a halt on the back straight in practice two after suffering what appeared to be a drive problem.
“My car seemed to suffer some sort of blackout: gradually all the systems shut down and I had to stop at the side of the track,” explained the Brazilian who was memorably black-flagged at the Montreal circuit last year for running the red light during the safety-car induced pit-lane closure. “Of course, that’s not good but it’s better to have a problem in free practice than in qualifying or, worse still, in the race!”
“Even if we did not get through everything we wanted to do, this problem won’t cost us anything. From what we could understand today, it is very close between us and our main rivals. As usual on a Friday in Montreal, the track was very dirty and will therefore improve bit by bit as the surface gets rubbered in.”
Kimi Raikkonen meanwhile was hampered by yellow flags in the dying laps of the second session, the Finn having yet to show his true hand after showing ominous pace in the first and middle sectors.
“We were always quick,” said the Finn, sending a clear signal to rivals McLaren that it won’t be plain-sailing for the team come qualifying and the race. “I am quite satisfied with this first day of testing. The car turned out to be well balanced right from the morning and I think we can aim for the top spots over the rest of the weekend.”
“From what we have seen today, there is not much difference in the performance of the two types of Bridgestone tyre we have available to us, but the track conditions are bound to change over the next couple of days. At this track, it is very important to have the brakes sorted in the race and we also worked on this.”
Both Massa and Raikkonen have unfinished business at the Montreal circuit after they lost out to the safety car periods in last year’s chaotic grand prix. Massa will be hoping to make amends for his black-flag while Raikkonen will have to place higher than fifth if he is to retake the initiative in the championship.
Ferrari chiefs Stefano Domenicali and Luca Baldisserri are confident that the Scuderia are well poised to deliver beyond their Friday pace.
“As usual on a Friday, the results have to be viewed with caution as we don’t know what fuel loads other drivers were running,” warned Domenicali. “As for ourselves, we worked to prepare for Sunday’s race and are reasonably happy with our performance level.”
“It’s too early to say where we are in the pecking order, but we will definitely be competitive,” added Baldisserri.