F1

Hamilton takes over at Jerez test

Hamilton takes over at Jerez test

Once again there were 17 drivers on track at Jerez on December 7th and after Ferrari's initial strength in these first winter tests it was the turn of McLaren to take over the top of the times. New addition Lewis Hamilton isn't wasting any time...

Once again there were 17 drivers on track at Jerez on December 7th and after Ferrari's initial strength in these first winter tests it was the turn of McLaren to take over the top of the times. New addition Lewis Hamilton isn't wasting any time in getting used to the car and clocked the fastest of the day, 1:18.682, a second quicker than the second placed car.

Lewis Hamilton.
Photo by xpb.cc.

McLaren's programme was the continuation of tyre testing and Hamilton also worked on mechanical set up and wheel/tyre combinations. He's not wasting any time flinging the car around either, as a late off track excursion ended his day prematurely. McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa was seventh overall and along with the tyre work he carried out set up and aero development.

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella was second fastest and teammate Heikki Kovalainen was 10th on the time sheet. Renault carried on with its tyre and chassis set up programme and Fisichella's work also included brake development. Kovalainen focused mainly on tyre evaluation.

"I had a better second day and I am beginning to find my feet with these new tyres," said Fisichella. "I am feeling more confident with the car, and I made good progress with the car in spite of some delay this morning owing to poor track conditions. The tyres are harder than what we have been used to, which means the grip is not so good. But I was expecting that, so it is not a surprise, and things are going well during this first session back in the car."

Rubens Barrichello was the quicker of Honda's two drivers in third, with tester Christian Klien a couple of tenths behind in seventh. Barrichello worked on suspension evaluation as well as the ubiquitous set up and tyres while Klien concentrated on aerodynamics and electronics. Second test driver James Rossiter will return to the cockpit tomorrow.

Nico Rosberg continued for Williams and was fourth quickest. He was followed by the Ferrari of Felipe Massa in fifth and the Scuderia's test driver Luca Badoer was 12th. Their focus for the day was the continuation of a technical programme which includes engine endurance testing, new components and set up. Both are scheduled to be on track on Friday.

Toyota had Ralf Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi, from the Young Driver Programme, on duty and they were sixth and 17th respectively. Schumacher carried out tyre tests -- as if it needed saying -- while Kobayashi continued to familiarize himself with the car on his second outing for the team.

"I found the new tyres more difficult here than at Barcelona last week -- there was very low grip everywhere," said Schumacher. "We went through a few set-up options and changed a few things. Now we have to figure out the best set-up for these tyres. But I was able to set competitive lap times all day so that is always pleasing."

Nick Heidfeld was the lead BMW Sauber in ninth and teammate Robert Kubica was 11th. Heidfeld's programme was set up changes, including the interaction of new dampers with the new tyres. Birthday boy Kubica continued with gearbox work and set up, along with mechanical system checks. The team reported a trouble free day. Timo Glock will be back in the cockpit tomorrow for his second day with BMW.

Red Bull fielded both its race drivers, Mark Webber 13th fastest and David Coulthard 16th. Toro Rosso again had one car present and today it was Scott Speed, 15th. The Red Bull bunch are far too hip and trendy and too busy partying to bother telling anyone what they were working on -- tyres, perhaps?

Anthony Davidson continued work in the interim Super Aguri chassis and was 14th on the time sheet. Davidson completed 112 laps, the most of all the drivers present, and evaluated suspension along with his tyre programme.

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