Slick Barrichello tops Barcelona test

A second day of Formula One testing in sunny Spain put slick-tire tester Rubens Barrichello of Honda at the top of unofficial time charts. The veteran Brazilian was nearly a second faster than first follower, Giancarlo Fisichella of Force India.

Rubens Barrichello, Honda Racing F1 Team, RA108 radical new front wing.
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The compartmentalizing continued Tuesday as teams tested slick tires in advance of a rules change that will return the grooveless rubber to F1 next season. Teams also prepared for the opening race in Europe, the Spanish Grand Prix, scheduled at month's end on the 4.655-kilometer Circuit de Catalunya. Barrichello's top time of 1 minute, 18.928 seconds was achieved with the 2008-spec RA108 on slick Bridgestones.

Fisichella (1:19.721) was also on slicks, also running a car to '08 specifications. Fastest non-slicks runner was Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who churned to 113 laps and third on the chart in 1:20.283. Massa's day was spent on race setup and testing aerodynamics. The Brazilian hands over to former Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher on Wednesday.

Red Bull's David Coulthard (1:20.392) on slicks was fourth quickest, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton (1:20.452) on grooves was fifth fastest. They were followed by Renault's Fernando Alonso (1:20.616), Williams's Nico Rosberg (1:20.800), Toyota's Timo Glock (1:20.870), and BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld (1:20.981).

Alonso and Heidfeld were the only drivers who did not use slicks at all. Alonso's R28 rolled out with an elongated engine cover fin. The double world driving champion Spaniard brought out the day's only red flag when he stopped on course with what appeared to be an engine problem.

Heidfeld, uncharacteristically at the bottom of time charts -- though in a sparse field, only nine drivers working -- pursued race setup with mechanical and aerodynamical as well as tire options. In racking up 98 laps he brought his two-day total to 203 laps. The German hands over to Polish teammate Robert Kubica on Wednesday.

Glock continued Toyota's race setup data collection before trying slicks in the afternoon session.

"We're going in the right direction so we hope that can help us next week," Glock said. "We gathered some important information but we still need to learn more."

Rosberg, who covered 103 laps, ran slicks to incorporate data into planning for next season. Test team manager Dickie Stanford said the day's work went smoothly, without major problem. Rosberg continues testing Wednesday.

Of the two missing teams, Super Aguri and Toro Rosso, the Red Bull-associated Toro Rosso squad is schedule to arrive Wednesday to test the new STR3.