Webber quickest in Barcelona rain

Red Bull's Mark Webber scampered through a break in rain showers Thursday to set fast time on the final day of Formula One testing in Barcelona, Spain. Weather limited laps for the eight remaining teams at the test. Force India and Scuderia Toro...

Red Bull's Mark Webber scampered through a break in rain showers Thursday to set fast time on the final day of Formula One testing in Barcelona, Spain. Weather limited laps for the eight remaining teams at the test. Force India and Scuderia Toro Rosso, whose new STR3 model was written off by Sebastien Bourdais on Wednesday, did not test.

Webber's unofficial time, 1 minute, 21.953 seconds, was markedly slower than fast times on the three previous -- dry -- days of the test period. Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Honda's Rubens Barrichello and Renault's Fernando Alonso each reached the 1:18 range on slick tires before Thursday's heavy morning rain and afternoon thunder shower slowed times. Heikki Kovalainen drove his McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 to a second-best 1:23.589 at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Instead of slicks, which most teams tested during the week in anticipation of rules changes for 2009, drivers Thursday used intermediate grooves.

Following Kovalainen on the time charts was his fellow Finn, World Driving Champion Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari F2008. Like Kovalainen, Raikkonen was making his only test appearance of the week. He rolled to a best time of 1:23.619 in 33 laps. The team was able to fit his car with dry tires only in the final hour. Ferrari shift their focus to a shakedown at Maranello, Italy, next Wednesday before the Spanish Grand Prix.

Ending a week of varied data gathering, Robert Kubica registered a 1:24.713 in a BMW Sauber F1.08. Jenson Button, who managed only an installation lap in the morning and a mere 41 laps in the afternoon, came a tenth later in 1:24.873 in a Honda RA108. Kazuki Nakajima's Williams FW30 timed a 1:24.927. Nelsinho Piquet's quickest effort was a 1:26.100 in a Renault R28. Jarno Trulli's Toyota TF108 rolled to a 1:32.150.

"Unfortunately, we had a lot of rain in the morning so couldn't get out of the garage, but managed some runs this afternoon," Nakajima said. "It wasn't as much time as I would have liked, and the conditions were constantly changing, but we've done some good work and I'm looking forward to coming back for the race next weekend."

Teams used the four-day test period to prepare for rules changes next season, add updates to improve cars mechanically and aerodynamically this season, and to work on specific setups for the Spanish Grand Prix, the first of two races to be held in Spain this season. The European Grand Prix will be a street race on a newly adopted course in Valencia in August.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Felipe Massa , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Kubica
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Force India , Toro Rosso , Williams