Monza day 3: Schumacher ahead

World champion Michael Schumacher set the pace on the third day of testing at the Monza circuit today (Thursday), outpacing championship rivals Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen as preparation for the Italian Grand Prix continues

Monza day 3: Schumacher ahead

The Ferrari star concentrated on completing a Bridgestone tyre programme, along with work on the set-up of his F2003-GA ahead of his team's home race, and reported himself happy with the progress made.

Montoya worked on new bodywork in the morning, and also completed a programme evaluating some revised front suspension, possibly designed to work with the new construction front tyres that Michelin has introduced following the recent rule clarification by the sport's governing body, the FIA.

Fellow Michelin runner Raikkonen, along with McLaren team-mate David Coulthard, also worked on tyre development. The Scot completed his programme early and handed his car over to test driver Alex Wurz in the afternoon, and declared himself happy with the new construction tyres he ran, although he remained cautious on his prospects for the Italian GP.

"I've done all the homework," he told autosport.com. "But just because we've been in good form testing here doesn't mean we'll be in good form next weekend. I've done what I could do here."

The Renault duo also completed a programme of tyre evaluating, and Fernando Alonso also reported that he had no trouble adapting his car to Michelin's new rubber. Jaguar star Mark Webber was another to run the new front tyres, but was once again more concerned with his rears. For the second day running, the Australian suffered a worrying failure on the sidewall of his left-rear tyre. Jaguar refused to comment on what might have caused the tyre failure.

Rubens Barrichello was back in action for Ferrari after taking time off for a sore back. BAR had three cars in action. Jacques Villeneuve and Anthony Davidson worked on tyres and set-up, although the Briton's running was severely hampered by two gearbox failures. Takuma Sato continued work on new, Honda-developed rear suspension.

Giancarlo Fisichella continued a programme of tyre testing, while F3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim spent the day learning about the Jordan-Ford, setting a best time just half a second slower than Fisichella, despite having his running hampered by two electrical problems.

Sauber's Nick Heidfeld had the moment of the day, when he ran over a bump approaching the circuit's first chicane. The German spun his car, collecting three polystyrene marker boards in the process, before coming to rest in the middle of the chicane. The Sauber had a damaged front nose, suspension and floor as a result.

Williams and Ferrari have decided to extend their test, and will both remain at Monza tomorrow morning.

Michael Schumacher Ferrari B 1m21.29s 76
Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m21.35s 39
Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m21.71s 77
Fernando Alonso Renault M 1m21.74s 96
Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m21.81s 70
Jarno Trulli Renault M 1m21.95s 81
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes M 1m21.96s 49
Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m21.99s 74
Rubens Barrichello Ferrari B 1m22.05s 54
Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda B 1m22.09s 73
Mark Webber Jaguar M 1m22.12s 62
Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m22.25s 28
Cristiano da Matta Toyota M 1m22.27s 78
Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m22.29s 80
Ricardo Zonta Toyota M 1m22.46s 65
Takuma Sato BAR-Honda B 1m22.46s 60
Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda B 1m22.90s 32
Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Ford B 1m23.04s 39
Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas B 1m23.45s 39
Bjorn Wirdheim Jordan-Ford B 1m23.63s 46
Gianmaria Bruni Minardi-Cosworth B 1m24.73s 26
Nicola Kiesa Minardi-Cosworth B 1m25.03s 35

B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin

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