F1

Jerez test results cloud 2010 pecking order

Four teams look to be in the hunt for the 2010 world championship, Michael Schumacher predicted after last week's Jerez test. When the four-day session at the often damp Spanish circuit ended, the German had set just the eighth quickest lap...

Four teams look to be in the hunt for the 2010 world championship, Michael Schumacher predicted after last week's Jerez test.

When the four-day session at the often damp Spanish circuit ended, the German had set just the eighth quickest lap time of all -- albeit ahead of his Mercedes GP teammate Nico Rosberg.

"We have four that I think are the major teams," he told reporters, referring to his Brackley based employer as well as Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull.

Schumacher, 41, added that some other teams also appear to have "very interesting pace", like Sauber, whose "car is quite quick", the seven time world champion opined.

"And the Renault -- there is a question mark how quick it is," he added.

"It's very tough to understand the order of the teams just yet as everyone can play so much with the fuel loads. So there is a lot of speculation going on but it's very interesting," said Schumacher.

As the circuit dried completely at the end of Saturday, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap of the entire four-day test in his McLaren, with the new Toro Rosso, Sauber and Force India closely behind in a combined time sheet.

The result sets a different scene than the last outing at Valencia, when Ferrari seemed the dominant force.

"It's questionable how valid these lap times here at the tests are," read an official Ferrari report.

Asked if the F10 is good enough for the title, Felipe Massa - who did an incredible 160 laps on Saturday with no physical problems - said: "It's much too early (to say), although I really hope so.

"What counts is that we know that we've got a fast and consistent car."

Jerez action resumes for another four days beginning this Wednesday.

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