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GP Week : Issue 3
33 www. GPWEEK. com Friday began with Kovalainen outpacing Hamilton for the first official session of 2008, sitting third at the flag, two spots ahead of the Brit. Session 2, however, saw Hamilton lead proceedings in first place, with Heikki back in seventh. Saturday was less enjoyable as the boys sat 11th and 16th after practice, initially having to settle for the second row of the grid behind the two rampant Ferraris in qualifying with Kovalainen third and Hamilton fourth. Both drivers were found guilty of impeding fellow drivers on the slow-down laps though, and would start eighth and ninth. The race itself was one of frustration for both drivers. Hamilton’s efforts were hindered by a botched first pit-stop when the spinner came unstuck from the wheel gun, and thereafter he found himself locked in a number of battles to come home fifth. Kovalainen couldn’t quite match the pace of either Raikkonen or Kubica, but still made up for his Australian disappointments by recording his first podium for McLaren in third place. The team nevertheless maintained the lead in both championships. Friday began with set-up, tyre testing and data accumulation on new aero updates for the team, with Sutil setting a consistent pace in 22nd and 18th. Fisichella started the day in 19th, leaping 10 places to ninth in the afternoon. Sutil continued his consistency into Saturday with 20th in practice, six places behind Fisichella. Qualifying was frustrating for the team as Fisi again came close to Q2, eventually winding up 17th, 4 places ahead of Sutil who formed the meat in a Super Aguri Sandwich. Sutil made a fantastic start, climbing six places in five laps, but his race was to end on only the fifth lap when a hydraulics problem knocked him out. Fisichella meanwhile had slightly more luck, and managed to run consistently at a pace around a second off the ultimate race-leading lap times. The Italian would ultimately finish ahead of Barrichello’s Honda in 12th position. SUPER AGURI F1 18 19 FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM 20 21 VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES 22 23 Friday started encouragingly for Super Aguri, with neither driver finishing either session at the bottom of the timesheets – a sterling effort given the team’s lack of testing. With parts still at a minimum the team was nevertheless able to run a more productive programme than had been the case in Australia. Saturday practice again found neither driver at the back of the pack, but in qualifying a disappointed Davidson struggled to find the optimum balance and wound up 22nd. Sato, meanwhile, continued to punch above the car’s weight, out- qualifying Sutil to sit 20th. The race saw Super Aguri bring both cars home to the finish – no mean feat for a team still trying to find its feet with a car of which it has little knowledge. Sato ran wide in the second stint but kept his foot in to finish 16th. Davidson meanwhile took the chequered flag one place above his team-mate, completing his first full race distance since the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix. F1 malaysia >>