Testing resumed this week at Paul Ricard HTTT in France and 11 drivers from 11 teams were on duty. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was the fastest man of the day, 1:05.699, and he worked on tyres on the 2D SC layout of the track in preparation for Monaco. He also spent some time on mechanical development.
Ralf Schumacher was Toyota's representative for the day and was second fastest, over a second down on Hamilton. The 'super soft' tyres have not yet been used this season and will be the option tyre at Monaco so this week tyre evaluation is one of the main points of the test.
"People talk about the strong Mistral wind in this part of the world and I certainly experienced it today," Schumacher remarked about the gusty conditions. "Sometimes the wind was so strong that you barely got top gear on the straight but when conditions were calmer we had a productive day, trying a number of set-ups as well as evaluating the super soft and soft tyres for Monaco."
Renault tester Nelson A. Piquet was third quickest. Much the same as the others, he began preparations for Moncao. The team reported no problems with its continuing development programme. "I ran a lot today, just like in Barcelona last time out, and that's always a good thing," said Piquet. "I think we made good progress, and it was a positive, encouraging day for the rest of the week."
Mark Webber was fourth quickest for Red Bell, working on tyres and aero settings, and sister team Toro Rosso fielded Scott Speed, 10th on the time sheet. The American experienced some mechanical problems during the day. Nico Roberg was behind the wheel for Williams and was fifth.
Felipe Massa was on track for Ferrari and managed sixth fastest. He worked on tyres, of course, as well as set up and development of aerodynamic and mechanical components. The Brazilian will continue on Wednesday.
Honda made use of test driver Christian Klien and the Austrian was seventh on the time sheet. He spent the day evaluating aerodynamic configurations, although it was difficult to get consistent data in the windy conditions. Rubens Barrichello is scheduled to take over on Wednesday.
BMW Sauber employed test driver Timo Glock and he was eighth over all. His work mainly focused on set up for Monaco, as well as systems checks and testing new mechanical components. Robert Kubica is scheduled to be on track on Wednesday.
Super Aguri's newly arrived tester James Rossiter has his first chance to put the SA07 through its paces and was ninth. "It felt good to be driving again having last driven in February and I thoroughly enjoyed it!" Rossiter said. "After quickly getting to know the team and the car, we worked on finding good car balance and running with the Monaco wings in the morning."
Spyker gave development driver Fairuz Fauzy his third outing and he rounded off the times in 11th. He, of course, began the teams preparations for Monaco by evaluating set up, brakes and tyres and completed 74 laps. "Overall we were pleased with how the first day went and Fairuz did a thorough job," commented chief race and test engineer Dominic Harlow.
Fauzy was happy to be back in the car and was pleased with the developments. "Our pace over the longer runs was pretty good -- quicker than the Toro Rosso cars -- and much better when we fitted new brakes, so that's encouraging for the team. I hope Adrian (Sutil) and Christijan (Albers) will find the car much better when they take over tomorrow."