Silverstone, day 1: Ralf in the rain

Just two cars ventured out on track in Northamptonshire yesterday, when Williams and Toyota turned up for a three-day test at Silverstone.

Silverstone, day 1: Ralf in the rain

The Williams team fielded Ralf Schumacher, who went 1.6s quicker than Toyota's Cristiano da Matta in the overcast conditions. Williams' chief operations engineer Sam Michael said: "Despite intermittent rain throughout the day, we have had quite a productive session in terms of mileage.

"We managed to make some progress with the aero testing as well doing some work on the electronics of the car before ending the day with engine endurance running."

Both teams set out to maximise their set-up work for the Canadian Grand Prix, utilising the different properties of two fast tracks under two different weather systems, Silverstone and Monza. The weather in Canada at this time of year can be bright and warm, more like Monza, or cold and rainy, characteristic of Silverstone.

"I haven't driven at Silverstone since F3000 in 1996 and it is good to be back," said Da Matta. "I like the track a lot and I have missed driving here. The weather wasn't great today with some rain, but that's what Silverstone is all about isn't it?

"We managed a lot of laps today and completed our entire task list, working on some aero tests and just on me reacquainting myself with the track."

Da Matta tests at the British track again today, before jetting off to Brazil for a short break at the weekend.

Fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello was in action at the Fiorano circuit yesterday, where he worked at the wheel of a F2003-GA. He completed 124 laps of tyre testing and posted a best time of 58.001s. Ferrari, which is also testing at Monza this week, returns to the Italian track on Thursday.

R Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m22.613s 52
C da Matta Toyota B 1m24.227s 42

B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin

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Ralf Outpaces da Matta at Silverstone - Day One

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