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Paul Ricard Day 3 - It's Button again in France 16 Apr 2004

Jenson Button (GBR) BAR Honda 006.
Malaysian Grand Prix, Rd 2, Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 19 March 2004

For the second day in a row, BAR’s Jenson Button set the fastest time in testing at Paul Ricard on Thursday.

Button once again finished ahead of Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, with more than a second separating the two drivers. Button completed 150 laps of the track and set a fastest time of 1m 06.301s. Raikkonen’s best was 1m 07.375s.

Antonio Pizzonia took over the testing duties for Williams and his best time of 1m 07.706s was good enough for third on the day. Focussing mainly on tyre work, the Brazilian was able to complete more than 100 laps in overcast conditions. Setting the fourth fastest time of the day was Briton David Coulthard in his McLaren, with a 1m 07.786s.

As on Wednesday, the two Renault drivers were fifth and sixth fastest. Fernando Alonso was able to complete the equivalent of a full weekend’s running with his engine package, and both he and Franck Montagny also worked on tyre evaluation. Alonso’s fastest time of the day was 1m 08.077s, with Montagny setting a time of 1m 08.227s.

Next on the timesheets were the Toyota’s of Olivier Panis and Ryan Briscoe. Panis achieved a best time of 1m 08.418s and Briscoe’s quickest was 1m 08.657s. Both drivers were able to get some good mileage under their belts, with Panis clocking up 97 laps and Briscoe more than 120.

Austrian driver Christian Klien finished the day in ninth place with a best time of 1m 09.567s, although he was limited to only 25 laps in the Jaguar.

Testing continues at Paul Ricard on Friday.

Elsewhere, Ferrari continued testing at two venues. Andrea Bertolini completed the second and final day of testing on the straight at the Vairano circuit, clocking up 337 kilometres working on an aerodynamics programme. At Fiorano, Michael Schumacher took over from Rubens Barrichello and completed more than 140 laps, working principally on tyre development. His best time was 56.060s. Schumacher is scheduled to continue testing at Fiorano on Friday.

Unofficial Thursday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:06.301
2. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:07.375
3. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:07.706
4. David Coulthard, McLaren (Michelin), 1:07.786
5. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin) 1:08.077
6. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:08.227
7. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:08.418
8. Ryan Briscoe, Toyota (Michelin), 1:08.657
9. Christian Klien, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:09.567