In the third day of testing at Spain’s Jerez circuit, it was Rubens Barrichello who set the fastest lap to head the time sheets, driving the all-black Honda test car. Honda’s test driver James Rossiter rolled into second, just a tenth slower than his Brazilian team mate, and two tenths faster than McLaren man Lewis Hamilton. McLaren were continuing to acclimatise themselves to Bridgestone rubber, who are now the sole tyre supplier to all Formula One teams. McLaren’s second driver present at the circuit today – Pedro De La Rosa – ended the day in fifth, but only 0.02s behind Hamilton, and sandwiching Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher who set 1m20.339s.
Renault were also out in force, with Heikki Kovalainen leading Giancarlo Fisichella by 0.02s to finish in sixth. BMW ran the most laps with Nick Heidfeld, who tried Bridgestones extreme and normal wet weather tyres during the morning’s torrential downpour. BMWs test driver Timo Glock also put in a fair few laps (105), and concentrated on their damper programme.
Ferrari were surprisingly low on the time sheets, especially after dominating all the sessions prior to yesterday. Massa was down in 13th place, 1.1s shy of pacesetter Barrichello’s lap. Ferrari’s long-term and experienced test driver Luca Badoer was languishing in 15th by the close of the day, and both drivers were working on engine endurance and set-up for the Ferrari 248.
This wraps up testing at Jerez for now, but the teams will be back at the circuit next Wednesday for the final session before the Christmas break. I guess the big question surrounds Fernando Alonso. Currently the Spaniard is not allowed to test for McLaren as he is under contract to his former emloyers Renault until the end of the year. McLaren have asked for an early Christmas present from Renault – requesting Alonso be freed from his contract – but I cannot see Flavio Briatore (Renault F1 chief) allowing it – I guess we shall wait and see…
1. Barrichello – Honda – 1m20.008s
2. Rossiter – Honda – 1m20.171s
3. Hamilton – McLaren – 1m20.325s
4. R. Schumacher – Toyota – 1m20.339s
5. De La Rosa – McLaren – 1m20.342s
6. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m20.372s
7. Fisichella – Renault – 1m20.390s
8. Heidfeld – BMW – 1m20.436s
9. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1m20.542s
10. Glock – BMW – 1m20.785s
11. Kobayashi – Toyota – 1m20.978s
12. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m20.985s
13. Massa – Ferrari – 1m21.143s
14. Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m21.325s
15. Badoer – Ferrari – 1m21.327s
16. Speed – Toro Rosso – 1m21.327s
17. Nakajima – Williams – 1m23.600s