F1

Raikkonen ends Paul Ricard test on top

Raikkonen ends Paul Ricard test on top

The week's testing at France's Paul Ricard HTTT concluded on May 18th and Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest of the 11 drivers present on the final day. The Finn's Ferrari clocked 1:28.624 on the 1E V2 layout of the circuit and he once again focused...

The week's testing at France's Paul Ricard HTTT concluded on May 18th and Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest of the 11 drivers present on the final day. The Finn's Ferrari clocked 1:28.624 on the 1E V2 layout of the circuit and he once again focused on finding the best set up and comparing different compounds of the Bridgestone tyres, as well as assessing mechanical and aerodynamic components.

Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Giancarlo Fisichella was second fastest for Renault, just a couple of hundredths behind Raikkonen. Fisichella completed the technical programme the team had been running this week, including set up work and aerodynamic tests in regard to the Canadian GP. "We had a good day: 112 laps with no problems," he commented.

"In terms of performance, the times are very closer and I am pleased with what we achieved today, as well as the handling of the car. We completed a big programme in preparation for Canada, and I think we are going in the right direction. I am pleased to be here working with the team today, because I know how important it is for us all to work hard at the moment."

Third on the time sheet was McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa. He concluded the team's week by focusing on the North American rounds of the championship at Montreal and Indianapolis, working mostly on set up and tyres. Williams also employed its test driver, Kazuki Nakajimi sixth fastest and about a second off Raikkonen's pace.

Sixth on the time sheet was the Red Bull of David Coulthard. "We have consolidated on our good result in Spain, by improving both in terms of performance and reliability," said chief test engineer, Ian Morgan. "Even though a gearbox problem stopped David slightly early today, the component had exceeded its usual life and generally, we managed more than our target mileage over the four days."

James Rossiter was seventh quickest for Super Aguri and is enjoying his new role with the team. "We evaluated the downforce level of the Montreal spec aero package and also the tyre options for the race," he said. "We managed to get good balance and found some interesting points that may assist our performance. I have had a great first week with the Super Aguri F1 Team and am looking forward to travelling with them next week to Monaco."

At Spyker Adrian Sutil took over for the final day and was eighth overall. He too made preparations for the Canadian GP, mostly working on tyres, brakes and set up. "We had a lot of on the agenda to work through today," he remarked.

"We tried out the tyre options available for Canada and although we still have some difficulties trying to get the most out of them, we did make a big step with the car set-up, got some positive running in and made some improvements. We especially got some information about the car under braking, the balance was good and it looks hopeful for Canada."

Nick Heidfeld was ninth fastest for BMW Sauber and the majority of his work was comparison of tyre compounds. Jenson Button finished off Honda's week with 10th overall. "We should be well prepared going into the next few races," he said. "We will have to wait and see performance-wise, but I am particularly looking forward to Monaco next weekend as it is one of my home races."

Last but not least was Toro Rosso's Tonio Liuzzi in 11th. Since both he and teammate Scott Speed retired from the Spanish GP with reliability gremlins -- hydraulics for Liuzzi and tyre problems for Speed -- there were some pressing issues for the Faenza squad to attend to at Paul Ricard this week.

"In terms of performance, we ran across the range of aero settings, from maximum downforce for Monaco on the first two days, to minimum for Canada on these last two and we hope to have a new aero package in time for the Canadian Grand Prix," said chief engineer Laurent Mekies. "Overall therefore, this has been a productive four days, but we still have a lot of work to do to reach an acceptable level of reliability."

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