On the final day of testing at Silverstone this week it was once again a Renault one-two at the top of the time sheet. Nelson A. Piquet was fastest for the second day in a row, his best of 1:19.510 half a tenth quicker than fellow team tester Heikki Kovalainen. Piquet continued to familiarize himself with set up work while Kovalainen worked on tyres.
"We had another good day of testing to conclude our work this week," said chief test engineer Christian Silk. "The changeable circuit conditions during the day meant we had to adapt our programme a little, but we managed this and Heikki obtained excellent results on his tyre testing for Suzuka. We are very happy with the Michelin tyres we will be taking to Japan."
"Nelson continued settling in to the team today, and ran a performance-focused set-up programme. He did another good job, to complete a very promising first week of testing with the team."
Third on the time sheet was McLaren youngster Lewis Hamilton, outdoing team racer Pedro de la Rosa who was one behind in fourth. "Pedro's focus for the week has been centred around tyre evaluation with Michelin for the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix," said CEO Martin Whitmarsh. "In addition, Pedro has completed a comprehensive set-up programme for China and Japan alongside Mercedes-Benz engine work."
"Lewis has now completed two full days of testing, with a focus on familiarisation to the car. Thursday saw him join Pedro on the Michelin selection process for Japan. Lewis has had a solid week, whilst he has obviously enjoyed and benefited from his time in the car, he has also provided valuable input to the testing process."
In keeping with the team formations, the Toyota pair of Ralf Schumacher and tester Olivier Panis were fifth and sixth respectively. They worked on tyres -- Ralf lost time in the afternoon due to a fuel pump change and Panis suffered some engine problems but overall the team got through most of its programme for the day.
"We spent the day mostly working on tyres for the Suzuka race," said Ralf. "Overall, the car is feeling good and I think that our car can be competitive in the coming races. The team has worked hard at each and every test to prepare for the races, but now we will have to see how the coming race weekends unfold."
Tester Alex Wurz was the sole Williams present, seventh fastest. "Alex was driving the Toyota-powered interim FW28B car today and continued work with the engine and gearbox installation," said test team manager Mike Condliffe. "We had a very productive day, which included a tyre test in the afternoon. Given the number of new components on the car, it's been very positive all in all."
Super Aguri's Takuma Sato rounded off the times in eighth. "It has been a successful week and it was good to be able try so many things at such an important test before the Shanghai and Suzuka grands prix," he commented. "Yesterday we completed the tyre evaluation for Suzuka and are happy with our tyre choice for this race. I mainly concentrated on the aero packages for both Shanghai and Suzuka today."
At Jerez Honda's Jenson Button topped the time sheets with a best of 1:16.970 and team development driver James Rossiter was fourth of the four drivers present. Aero work and tyres were their programme. Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld wrapped up BMW Sauber's week with second and third respectively, Kubica less than a tenth off Button, and they worked on set up, electronics and tyres.
Ferrari concluded its work for the week, today using two tracks. At Mugello Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer developed mechanical components and tyres, Schumacher's 1:20.366 the fastest time of the pair. Felipe Massa was at Fiorano to shakedown the cars for China and Japan. He completed 20 laps with a best time of 59.240.