F1

Raikkonen tops last day at Jerez

Raikkonen tops last day at Jerez

Fifteen drivers from six teams rounded off the week's test programme at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain on Friday, where McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen was at the top of the times. Raikkonen set a best of 1:17.098, while test driver Pedro de la Rosa...

Fifteen drivers from six teams rounded off the week's test programme at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain on Friday, where McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen was at the top of the times. Raikkonen set a best of 1:17.098, while test driver Pedro de la Rosa clocked eighth quickest.

Kimi Raikkonen.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"We have had a productive session in which we focused our performance testing work on the suspension of the MP4-20," said Raikkonen. "My task was to complete the testing work of Juan Pablo on the last day. With the developments we both made to the car we should benefit from in the forthcoming French and British Grands Prix."

BAR's Jenson Button was second fastest, just a couple of hundredths down on Raikkonen, and teammate Takuma Sato was seventh overall. Team test drivers Enrique Bernoldi and Anthony Davidson traded track time with the race drivers and were 11th and 13th respectively.

"Following competitive performances at recent race events, everyone at B*A*R Honda is pushing hard to get further improvements on the car," commented chief test engineer Mark Ellis. "We are pleased with the results from our aero tests and have worked hard with the chassis to improve our race balance."

Renault's Fernando Alonso was third overall Franck Montagny was sixth. "We had a productive day that allowed us to complete preparations for Magny-Cours, while also working on chassis development programmes, and notably braking," said chief test engineer Christian Silk.

Felipe Massa concluded Sauber's week with fourth fastest, working on tyres, aerodynamics and evaluating a new front wing for the C24. "Overall, it was a decent test this week with good results and we were able to complete our programme as scheduled," said test engineer Paul Russell.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli took to the Spanish track for the last day and was fifth on the time sheet, while team tester Ricardo Zonta was 12th. Tyres were the main focus of the team's week. Zonta will hand over third driver duties next Friday in France to Olivier Panis, so the Frenchman can put in an appearance at his home race.

"It was basically a very intensive tyre programme with some damper testing on the final day," said Zonta, who was on duty at Jerez for all three days. "It went very well. We did three long runs on Thursday to do race distance evaluation on the Magny Cours tyres."

Ralf Schumacher, who was scheduled to test this week, was sidelined after his crash at Indianapolis but will be back in action at the French GP. "The team's medical staff decided that the sensible thing to do was maximise Ralf's recovery time before Magny Cours, where he will return to the cockpit alongside Jarno," said chief test engineer Gerd Pfeiffer.

Antonio Pizzonia was the quicker of the two Williams' on track in ninth, with Nick Heidfeld one behind in 10th. "It's been a busy and interesting test, during which we've completed an extensive programme identifying and ironing out any problems on the new MK2 bodywork before the French Grand Prix," commented test team manager Tim Newton.

The two Red Bull cars rounded off the times in 14th and 15th, Tonio Liuzzi and either David Coulthard or Scott Speed respectively -- there seems to some confusion over which it was. Liuzzi is expected to be back in the third driver seat on Friday for the French GP after making way for Speed in North America.

At Barcelona, Ferrari concluded its four-day test programme with Michael Schumacher and tester Luca Badoer behind the wheel. Schumacher was the quicker of the two with a time of 1:15.700 and Badoer was about a second behind. They completed work on aerodynamics, new mechanical components and tyres.

Jordan was also on track at Barcelona with the new EJ15B. The car was due to debut yesterday but was sidelined by technical problems. Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro put the new chassis through its paces, Karthikeyan the quicker of the two but over three and a half seconds off Schumacher, and completed 40 laps between them.

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