F1

Buemi fastest at Jerez, de la Rosa quick in Portimao

For sure, Sebastien Buemi is a talent. The Swiss newcomer to Formula One proved as much yet again by topping timesheets for the fifth consecutive test day at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Buemi toured the 2.75-mile track in 1 minute, 17.029...

For sure, Sebastien Buemi is a talent. The Swiss newcomer to Formula One proved as much yet again by topping timesheets for the fifth consecutive test day at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Buemi toured the 2.75-mile track in 1 minute, 17.029 seconds -- his best yet -- during 83 laps of setup, balance and slick-tire evaluation. All times are unofficial. Buemi's effort isn't.

Given extra time in a car by a bicycle accident that broke the right leg of Red Bull racer Mark Webber, Buemi took on and bested Red Bull Racing's newest racer, Sebastian Vettel. Vettel moved up to Red Bull after a scintillating season -- including a first victory -- for junior team Scuderia Toro Rosso and the whole Red Bull F1 enterprise's owner, Dieter Mateschitz. Also in an RB4 on Tuesday, Vettel's best was 1:17.319 in 83 laps that included a couple wide lines at Turn 1. Buemi's fast lap was on his 77th. Vettel's best was on his final, 83rd.

"It's been a very good test so far, we've been improving with every lap, which is really good for next season and I'm happy," said Buemi, who Swiss newspaper Blick reported was among four drivers drug-tested by the FIA at Jerez last week. "We're learning more about the slick tires, too, which is important. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and trying to improve myself more."

Following Red Bull's youngsters -- Buemi is 20, Vettel 21 -- on time charts were BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld, 31,, and Robert Kubica, who turned 24 Dec. 7. Temperatures only a handful of degrees above freezing kept the F1.08s in the garage for a couple hours until sun warmed the track somewhat. Thereafter, Kubica took on development work, or "energy strategies," in the KERS-equipped car, and Heidfeld carried on tire evaluation and mechanical setup in a conventional car. Hedifeld clocked a best lap of 1:19.303 about halfway through his 85 laps. Kubica's best lap was a 1:20.006 on his 24th of 61 laps.

"After the delay in the morning, the weather was nearly perfect, so overall it was a good day for me," Heidfeld said. "I did short as well as long runs to compare tire wear. At the end of the session I did some race-start simulations, as this is also an area where we have to adjust to the slick tires."

Williams race driver Kazuki Nakajima carried the day's workload by completing 105 laps with a best of 1:20.332 about halfway through.

"Kazuki was on duty today and took over from where Nico Hulkenberg left off yesterday, continuing with tire testing and general setup work," Williams test team manager Dickie Stanford said. "We lost a small amount of track time this morning due to the icy weather, but the car has been running well and we've had no other problems. Kazuki will continue in the car tomorrow for our last day of testing this year."

Agence France Presse quoted Jornol dos Desportos in Luanda, Angola, that Williams has asked Angolan driver Raphael Teixeira to test when the team returns to the track in 2009. Currently with UK-based Ultimate Motorsports Series, Teixeira has driven in Formula three since 2002.

Over in the Algarve, McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa stepped into the McLraen Merecedes MP4-23K, the team's KERS car, and toured 68 laps with a best of 1:30.080. Besides putting miles on the kinetic energy recovery system, De al Rosa tested new front wing doodads.

Also testing at Algarve Motor Park near Portimao, Portugal, were Ferrari test drivers Luca Badoer and Marc Gene. Working in '09-adpated F2008s, Badoer and Gene posted fast laps of 1:31.320 and 1:33.076, respectively. Badoer completed 71 laps, Gene 51.

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