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Testing - McLaren outpace Ferrari 10 Mar 2004

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/19.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Albert Park, Australia, 5 March 2004

De la Rosa leads the way on day one at Valencia

They may have struggled in Australia, but McLaren were back on top of the timesheets at Valencia on Tuesday. Test driver Pedro de la Rosa set the pace on the first of this week's four days of testing.

De la Rosa, at the wheel of the MP4-19, completed just over 80 laps on his way to the day’s fastest time, a lap of 1m 10.124s. The Spaniard was just three hundredths of a second faster than Luca Badoer in last year’s Ferrari F2003-GA.

Badoer's programme with the world champions focussed on Bridgestone tyre testing in preparation for the next round of the season in Malaysia, where many have predicted that the higher track temperatures could favour rivals Michelin.

The Italian covered a total of 88 laps at Valencia, where conditions were fine and dry, with the track surface reaching a high of 24 degrees Celsius. He will continue work at the circuit on Wednesday and will be joined by Rubens Barrichello for the afternoon’s session.

The third and final team present on Tuesday was BAR, fresh from their strong showing in Melbourne at the weekend. At the wheel of the team’s ’04 concept car was third driver Anthony Davidson, who completed a mammoth 124 laps.

Due to join the Valencia test on Wednesday are Renault, with Franck Montagny in last year’s R23, and Toyota, with test drivers Ricardo Zonta and Ryan Briscoe both in action. Testing will continue on Thursday, while Friday’s session will be given over to a wet-weather Michelin tyre test.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Valencia:
1. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:10.123
2. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:10.153
3. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:10.736