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Sutil fastest, Fisichella slowest on Day 1 in Monza
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Sutil fastest, Fisichella slowest on Day 1 in Monza
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Sep 2009   |  2:49 pm GMT  |  21 comments

Adrian Sutil kept up Force India’s excellent form from Spa with fastest time in free practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

The German was on the pace throughout the day and set the fastest time at the end of the second session using the soft Bridgestone tyres. The Force India took a big step forward at Valencia but has really come into its own on the low downforce circuits.

Meanwhile his former team mate, Giancarlo Fisichella, found himself in the Luca Badoer slot, 20th position on his first day as a Ferrari driver, albeit with far more prospect of eventual success. The Italian covered 36 laps this afternoon. He was 8/10ths of a second off team mate Kimi Raikkonen and 1.6 seconds off Sutil’s pace. However all the signs are that he was learning the car, carrying race fuel levels and was particularly working on mastering the KERS system and will be closer to Raikkonen in qualifying. He said afterwards that he feels the front two rows are possible.

The world championship leader, Jenson Button, was 19th after a few niggly problems with the gearbox during the session. Team mate Barrichello was 16th. Monza is a track where it is tricky to get the tyres warmed up, due to the long straights and lack of fast corners. Warm up is a weakness of this Brawn chassis. The team seemed to focus on running old tyres, although Barrchello did a run on option tyres mid way through the session.

For Red Bull, Mark Webber had a truncated session with electrical loom chafing problems early on. He ended up 14th. Sebastian Vettel was 18th, having focussed his running on the afternoon, due to a lack of available engines.

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the morning session and wound up 11th in the second session. But the McLaren looks strong over the new high kerbs at Monza and McLaren are likely to feature strongly in qualifying and the race.

There were only four KERS cars in the top ten, two of which were the Renaults, but it is hard to draw too many conclusions from the lap times as not everyone did new tyre runs.

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21 Comments
  1. The Nude Wizard says:

    Fisi’s time in practice 1 was faster than Kimi’s best in either session you dont think he might have just been testing a car he’s never driven on heavy fuel in the 2nd practice? I guess we’ll see tomorrow..

    1. Andy says:

      More likely he did a quali lap at the end of the 1st practice. As far as I know, he was one of the few who took soft tires for his last outing in 1st practice.

    2. Red Kimi says:

      I assume he was light on fuel… I also heard Kimi only ran hard tires and Fisi did soft in prac 1….

      I hope he gets to Q2 tomorrow

    3. Silverstoned says:

      Faster? actually Fisi was out on the super soft when he clocked 1/10 faster than the Iceman’s lap on the hard tyre.
      It was just a piece of bogus management of the tv coverage by the famous pr firm “Smedley, Schumacher and [I forget the name of Fisi's agent]”

      Sorry to disappoint ….

    4. Andrew says:

      I agree. Just checked to see the practice 1 times to see if he was also in last position, and he was 8th, just 0.8 off the lead time and the fastest time so far in either practice.

      Usually good posts on here James, but this one is a little misleading.

      1. James Allen says:

        Yes I didn’t express myself very well in the post. I was not criticising Fisi. He did the time in P1 because he put a set of softs on after flat spotting his first set of tyres. He was 20th, which is ironic, with his old car P1, but I don’t mean he performed like Badoer. He is clearly going to be miles closer to Raikkonen than that.

  2. Red Kimi says:

    I see a very very close field time wise again

  3. Antoine says:

    So Look How Bad You Are wasn’t that bad after all given an F1 driver who almost won a race is producing the same result. I’d imagine the F60 to be too hard drive for novices unlike the Torro Rosso’s and Renault which Algesuari & Grosjean are handling pretty well.

  4. Adrian says:

    James,
    Do you think Brawn are really that slow or did you see any indication they might have been running race fuel or even trying higher downforce settings in case of rain…??

    1. Carl says:

      I noticed on the BBC live timing I think, that JB actually put in that sessions faster sector 1 and 2 times but ended up with the 19th fastest time overall, so either they’re sandbagging, or they’re crap in sector 3.

    2. jeremy says:

      regardless if they are slow, MCL, REN, FI are super quick. Jenson won’t lose too many points this race either. Good news.

      We’ve already seen Vettel trying to save his engine with limited running. Surely the 60% full throttle around Monza will be detrimental to his Renault engine. With 4 races to go following this weekend, Vettel is almost surely out of the running, Webber will be out after this race too if he can’t score any points. Abu Dhabi will be warm and the Renault engines will suffer even greater stresses in the desert heat.

  5. Jon says:

    I really think we need to rethink how F1 testing is reported. The headline makes it sound such a disaster ( i.e. Fisi slowest / 20th etc).
    Being only 1.6 seconds off the pace is nothing.
    We should be reporting that 10 teams with totally different chassis and engines all ran round a 5400 metre circuit and the biggest difference was only 1.6 seconds – about 100 metres. Nothing.
    I suspect the most significant difference is how the driver/chassis works its tyres.

  6. Paul Mc says:

    I think its great to see Force India up there again. This, for me, is the story of the season. Amazing stuff!

    Sutil for Pole Position on Saturday?

  7. Rhi says:

    I’ve been saying for a couple of seasons now that Sutil is a great driver but that he just didn’t have a great car. Now he’s showing his true capabilities and I’m really pleased to see it :-)

  8. Dans says:

    A bit bias on Fisi there. Unusual for you…

  9. Silverstoned says:

    Luca Badoer’s smile when Fisi ended up no better than him in prac2 was the picture of the week

  10. Snail says:

    Meanwhile his former team mate, Giancarlo Fisichella, had his found himself in the Luca Badoer slot.

    I think thats a bit unfair james. Its a practice day. You have no idea what he was trying out. The Ferrari will have a very different handling characteristic – it has the extra weight of KERS, a different engine, transmission and chassis.

    If he had any sense he’d be trying different weight variations, trying to understand the different handling characteristics of the car today, rather than finding out tomorrow and Sunday when he should already know that.

    If, after qualifying tomorrow, he is last, I think your comment may be appropriate. But until then, rather harsh.

  11. Marc says:

    Apparently Fisi was among a very few who ran soft tires at the end of the session.

    1. Jano says:

      Like almost everyone did from what we all saw on TV.

  12. rpaco says:

    I reckon one of the major problems Fisi has is the buttons switches and knobs being all different. Driving the car is a feeling thing but not pressing the right buttons instinctively and having to think of them must be slowing him down.
    Here’s cost saving idea for you all to shoot at:
    Why not have a standard steering wheel layout. Some teams would have more positions filled than others, but the armatures could be standard.
    Then all drivers would instinctively know where to hit the carburettor button etc. ;-)

  13. alien says:

    I bet Fisi’s regretting his words at the Spa post race conference now…

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