27 Feb 2008

Barcelona day two - McLaren one-two in testing - updated

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, 26 February 2008. World © Patching/Sutton Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008 Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, 26 February 2008. World © Moy/Sutton Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) Williams FW30 Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, 26 February 2008. World © Moy/Sutton Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28 Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, 26 February 2008. World © Moy/Sutton Andy Stevenson (GBR) Force India F1 Team Manager, Mike Gascoyne (GBR) Force India F1 Chief Technical Officer, Colin Kolles (GER) Force India F1 Team Principal and Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India F1 Team Owner. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, 26 February 2008. World © Moy/Sutton

McLaren retained their grip on the Barcelona timesheets on Tuesday as Lewis Hamilton again set the pace at this week’s multi-team test at Spain's Circuit de Catalunya. Hamilton’s best time, a 1m 21.234s, put him two-tenths of a second clear of Heikki Kovalainen in the second MP4-23.

With dry conditions throughout the day, Hamilton and Kovalainen covered over 140 laps as they continued to evaluate the latest modifications on the British team’s 2008 challenger ahead of next month's Australian Grand Prix.

Third fastest was Kimi Raikkonen for Ferrari. Raikkonen was joined on the Spanish track by team mate Felipe Massa, who finished in fifth. Both drivers worked on the development of the F2008 and on preparations for the start of the season, with Massa also completing a race simulation.

Splitting the two Ferraris in fourth was Nico Rosberg for Williams. Rosberg and team mate Kazuki Nakajima, 11th, were both charged with continuing the squad’s development of the FW30. They covered 175 laps in total and will carry on testing on Wednesday.

Force India’s new VJM01 continued to impress with Giancarlo Fisichella ending the day in sixth and team tester Vitantonio Liuzzi finishing tenth-quickest. Fisichella and Liuzzi both enjoyed encouraging days, completing set-up work in the morning and race and qualifying simulations in the afternoon.

“It was a good day,” said Fisichella. “I was struggling with the front locking at first, but then we understood what the problem was and made a change so the car was back to normal and at the end I was comfortable and confident and able to improve my lap times. I am happy with the new package, it is better with more downforce and has more stability, but we have still got something more for the first race so it looks quite encouraging.”

Toro Rosso driver Sebastian Vettel, who was drafted in to fill David Coulthard’s cockpit at Red Bull, clocked the seventh quickest time in the RB4. Vettel was accompanied by Coulthard’s team mate Mark Webber, who finished in 17th as he evaluated some new development parts.

“Unfortunately David suffered a trapped nerve in his neck, so we took the precautionary measure of giving him a day to recover ahead of the final day of testing and this near to the start of the season,” explained team principal Christian Horner.

“It was logical to use Sebastian Vettel to continue testing, evaluating various important pre-Melbourne developments. We’re grateful to Toro Rosso for making him available to us today. All being well, David will be back in the car tomorrow morning.”

Robert Kubica was the fastest BMW Sauber driver in eighth, with team mate Nick Heidfeld finishing in 15th. Kubica and Heidfeld worked on the mechanical and aerodynamic set-up of the F1.08, as well as gaining more experience with the standard ECU. The duo covered over 150 laps and will continue to test on Wednesday.

Renault’s Fernando Alonso finished in 13th while team mate Nelson Piquet Jr ended the day in 18th. After working on race procedures on Monday, the team switched its attentions to the R28’s performance, with Alonso carrying out aero testing and Piquet focusing on set-up work.

“It was a good day, especially as it was dry for the whole day,” said Alonso. “We continued testing the latest parts and updates before Melbourne and it was a good time to check that everything is working well. We still need to find some performance in the car, and some pace, but we have the potential and we just need to discover it. There is only one day of testing left, and we need to fully attack tomorrow to make the most of it.”

Jenson Button was the ninth-fastest runner for Honda, while Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello finished in 14th. With the start of the season in Australia just over two weeks away, Button and Barrichello focused on qualifying and race distance simulations. Unfortunately, neither driver were able to complete their programmes after two different issues caused both their RA108s to stop out on track.

With Sebastien Bourdais finishing 16th for Toro Rosso, it was left to Toyota team mates Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock to complete the day’s line-up in 12th and 19th respectively. Glock and Trulli both carried out aero testing alongside work on brakes and set-up.

“Finally we had a full dry day during which we could work quite a lot and move forwards in our preparations for Melbourne,” said Pascal Vasselon, senior general manager chassis. “Now we have all the information to decide the aero configuration for race one. The new aerodynamics package we brought here is a clear step forward.”

Testing continues at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:21.234
2. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:21.434
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:21.722
4. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:22.309
5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:22.513
6. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:22.516
7. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:22.558
8. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:22.625
9. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:22.659
10. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:22.942
11. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:22.977
12. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:23.023
13. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:23.112
14. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:23.169
15. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:23.284
16. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:23.323
17. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:23.458
18. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:23.467
19. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:23.561