F1

Hamilton fastest on last day at Valencia

Hamilton fastest on last day at Valencia

Nine drivers from six teams remained at Valencia on the last day of testing on February 2nd, most of whom had extended their programmes due to poor weather earlier in the week. It was a field of new 2007 cars all round and McLaren's Lewis...

Nine drivers from six teams remained at Valencia on the last day of testing on February 2nd, most of whom had extended their programmes due to poor weather earlier in the week. It was a field of new 2007 cars all round and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the day, 1:11.120 in the MP4-22.

Lewis Hamilton.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Team test driver Pedro de la Rosa was fourth quickest and their focus was aerodynamics and set up. Hamilton completed a race distance on long runs while de la Rosa's day was cut a little short with an engine failure. The team was not overly concerned as the engine was past the end of its cycle, having been used by Fernando Alonso for over 1,000 km then another 200 by de la Rosa today.

Kimi Raikkonen was the sole Ferrari driver on duty and was second fastest in the F2007, seven tenths off Hamilton. He continued with the development programme, making up for lost time earlier in the week, and completed 116 laps. Both the Finn and teammate Felipe Massa are scheduled to return to the test track next week.

Robert Kubica was the lead BMW in third and team test driver Sebastian Vettel was sixth on the time sheet. Set up, tyres and aero work in the F1.07 was their programme but both were hampered by problems. Kubica's car had an oil leak that could not be fixed in time and Vettel encountered a hydraulic gremlin.

Renault had both its race drivers on duty, Giancarlo Fisichella fifth and Heikki Kovalainen seventh. They initially worked on endurance testing over long runs and then set up of the R27 in the afternoon. The team said it had amassed a large amount of useful data over the week and in general the test had been very positive.

"We had to juggle with our programme according to unpredictable weather this week, but we were nevertheless able to make good progress with our primary objective: endurance testing of the new package to ensure optimum reliability, which is our priority at this stage of the season," said chief test engineer Christian Silk.

Mark Webber finished Red Bull's first full test of the RB3 with eighth fastest. On the first two days the team had Webber and then teammate David Coulthard behind the wheel of the new car then a second chassis was delivered to the circuit on Thursday. Systems evaluation and integration of the Renault engine were the initial priorities, as well as software relating to traction control, gears and engine braking.

"We had some teething problems which means we did not complete as many laps as we would have liked," said head of race and test engineering Paul Monaghan. "However, we learnt a lot and came up with fixes for some of the problems we encountered and we made progress throughout the four days."

Honda's Jenson Button rounded off the times in ninth. It was his second day in the RA107 and he initially carried out work to check the balance of the car and short tyre runs. In the afternoon he continued with set up work over longer runs. Along with set up work the team spent the week carrying out control software checks.

"Due to the variable weather conditions on the first days of the test, our planned programme was a little disrupted so we took the opportunity of an additional day on Friday to maximise our track time," said engineering director Jacky Eeckelaert. "Overall we are pleased with how the car has reacted to the set-up evaluations and look forward to continuing the work next week."

Most teams will be at Jerez next week, starting from Tuesday 6th.

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