The sun shone on the first day of practice for the eighty first running of the Italian Grand Prix, the sixty first to count towards the Formula 1 World Championship
. Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's weekend got off to a busy start with a packed work schedule, on track and in the garage.
Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso
completed a total of almost a hundred laps at the wheel of their F10s, the Spaniard doing 56 and the Brazilian reaching 42, before having to miss out on the last run planned, because of damage sustained after he went off at the Parabolica. "My heart missed a beat when Felipe ended up in the gravel," commented Stefano Domenicali. "It was lucky he did not end up in the barrier, as his car was going pretty quickly at the time. It was a shame, as he was improving his lap time, even if we know that Friday times count for little or nothing. The important thing is that we acquired a substantial amount of data which we will now use to prepare our cars as well as possible. This is an important event for us, both because it is our home race and because we are all aware of the situation in both championships. We will try and do the maximum, for ourselves and for our fans, although we know we are up against stiff opposition."Fernando Alonso
: "We are pleased with what we achieved in these two free practice sessions. We tried different aerodynamic configurations and now we must study the data carefully to make the right choices for tomorrow and Sunday. This track requires a low level of aerodynamic downforce, but you need to find the right compromise, especially so as not to prejudice stability under braking: it's true that top speed is important, but it is not everything. Between the two sessions, we made some changes on the car which seem to have moved us in the right direction, but we must keep in mind that we ran with various difference fuel levels. We have seen before that Friday's results are very often turned on their head on Saturday, therefore I definitely don't want to make any predictions. We have to focus on ourselves and do our utmost in qualifying and especially on Sunday, in the race. It will not be easy, because once again, Red Bull is proving to be very competitive and McLaren seems to be as strong as predicted."
Felipe Massa: "At the end of the second session, I tried to copy Kimi and do a bit of rallying...Joking apart, I was really lucky when I went off the track. I was heading for my best time, when I found myself in Michael's wake at the Parabolica and went off: I kept the accelerator pressed down in the hope I would manage to avoid hitting the barrier and I managed it, so I came straight back to the pits. Unfortunately, the car was slightly damaged, so I had to miss out on the final part of our programme. However, overall, it has been a good day in which we constantly improved. We had a lot of work to get through and at the start we struggled a bit, but then we found a good set-up and in the end I was reasonably happy with my car. We learned a lot about the handling of the F10 and now we have plenty of data to analyse to prepare as well as possible for what is such an important event, this being the Scuderia's home race."
Chris Dyer: "We are reasonably pleased with how things went for this first day of the Italian Grand Prix. We had established a very intensive work schedule and we completed the bulk of it, but for Felipe's last run, when he went off the track. Fortunately, Fernando managed to complete that part of the work with no trouble, so we will be able to use the data he acquired when we tackle the analysis which awaits us this afternoon and evening. We tested various aerodynamic configurations, albeit always using the blown rear wing. Studying the times, we don't look that bad, but we have to evaluate these results, taking into account the usual unknown factors and keeping in mind that some teams might not have shown all their cards: we will not know the truth until tomorrow afternoon at three o'clock, when qualifying is over."