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20 Feb 2010

Jerez day four - Button ends test on top

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Saturday 20 February 2010. Fans. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Saturday 20 February 2010. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10 Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Saturday 20 February 2010. Jarno Trulli (ITA) Lotus. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Saturday 20 February 2010. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams FW32. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Saturday 20 February 2010.

McLaren’s Jenson Button leapt to the top of the timesheets, as this week’s four-day test in Jerez drew to a close on Saturday. Button lapped the Spanish circuit in 1m 18.871s to finish over two-tenths of a second ahead of Robert Kubica in the Renault.

The British driver spent the day evaluating set-ups and assessing tyre durability in the MP4-25, and covered 108 laps. Kubica, meanwhile, completed 117 laps, as he carried out long runs in the R30.

"It was a good day and we tried a lot of different things, which has given us lots of useful information,” said the Pole. “To begin with we did some evaluation with different fuel loads to check the balance of the car and then in the afternoon we did long runs with heavy fuel to simulate a race distance. We completed most of the programme and I was pretty happy with the car."

Third quickest was Kamui Kobayashi in the BMW Sauber C29. "I'm really happy with our final day of testing in Jerez,” said Kobayashi. “It was a perfect day for us. The conditions were ideal and the car ran trouble-free, so we were able to complete 117 laps and gather a lot of data. We made some progress with the set-up of the car. We will now analyse the data and draw the relevant conclusions for the next test in Barcelona."

Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi ended the day in fourth. “We covered 80 laps without any issues and got through our programme of test items for this week,” said Liuzzi. “Everything went pretty well - we worked on understanding the car's performance with different fuel loads and ran through some set-up changes and the car is responding well. Overall I think we can be very satisfied with how this test has gone and can look forward to another good test next week.”

Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg took over from team mate Michael Schumacher in the MGP W01. Rosberg finished in fifth, after covering 130 laps. “We’ve had a very positive day today and were able to complete a lot of valuable mileage which is a great way to end the tests here in Jerez," said the young German. "We’ve made some good progress on our set-up comparisons and learnt a lot which will be useful to prepare for the final test in Barcelona."

Fernando Alonso took sixth for Ferrari, ahead of Jaime Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso. Alonso was charged with trying different set-up options in the F10 and completed 137 laps. Alguersuari spent the morning carrying out aero evaluation runs, before tackling a race simulation in the afternoon. He covered 139 laps.

“These past two days in the car have been successful and it was good that the weather improved, so I could manage to drive in the dry,” said Alguersuari. “The most important aspect is that the car ran reliably, which was our main target here in Jerez. It puts us in good shape to tackle the final test in Barcelona.”

Friday’s quickest runner, Mark Webber, ended the test down in eighth for Red Bull. Webber covered 88 laps, but lost two and a half hours of running time when the RB6’s engine failed. “We did a lot of stuff with Renault and also learned about the aerodynamics and the chassis,” said the Australian. “We need a nice clear run in Barcelona. A little more reliability there and we’re ready to go racing.”

Nico Hulkenberg was ninth fastest for Williams, whilst tenth spot went to Timo Glock in the Virgin VR-01.

Completing Saturday’s line-up was Jarno Trulli, who was in action in the Lotus for the first time. Trulli covered a mammoth 141 laps in the T127. “It was a very positive day,” said the Italian. “I’m really happy about my first day testing with Lotus Racing and I was very lucky to have everything right today with no major issues. We were able to put a lot of mileage on the car and get a lot of information out of it. I had the chance to start developing a real feel for the car and it’s good to be here.”

The team’s chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne, added: “An excellent day today, concentrating on reliability and race pace. 141 laps from Jarno is a great effort when you consider it is his first day driving this year and also a great effort from the team who worked all night to get the car prepared. Overall it’s been a very encouraging four days.”

Testing will resume at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya next week, with another four-day session commencing on Thursday February 25.

Unofficial Saturday times from Jerez:
1. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:18.871, 108 Laps
2. Robert Kubica, Renault, 1:19.114, 117 Laps
3. Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber, 1:19.188, 117 Laps
4. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:19.650, 80 Laps
5. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:20.061, 130 Laps
6. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:20.436, 137 Laps
7. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 1:21.053, 139 Laps
8. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:21.194, 88 Laps
9. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:21.919, 137 Laps
10. Timo Glock, Virgin, 1:22.433, 28 Laps
11. Jarno Trulli, Lotus, 1:23.470, 141 Laps