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Jaguar set record testing pace 04 Jun 2004

Mark Webber (AUS) Jaguar.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte Carlo, 20 May 2004

Mark Webber topped the Silverstone times on Thursday, with a new unofficial lap record for the British Grand Prix circuit. Webber, in the R5 for the first time this week after taking over from team mate Christian Klien, set a best of 1m 17.638s after a total of 116 laps.

Just two tenths slower than the Australian on the week’s final day of testing was Jenson Button, at the wheel of the BAR 006. Button continued with tyre work started by team mate Takuma Sato on Wednesday.

"It's good to test at Silverstone,” said the British driver. “I love the place. It's the first quick circuit we have been to since Barcelona, so it's good to see the car working very well here. As usual we are quick over one lap. Looking at Ferrari's pace over long runs they are very strong, but we've found a few things that we are happy with and they are going to help our pace over long runs on this type of circuit. We should be a lot more competitive in Canada and a lot closer to the Ferraris.”

Button also declared himself happy with the new spec Honda V10 the team had been testing in preparation for next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, adding: “The Honda engine felt very good during the test, so I am really looking forward to the next race in Montreal."

Third fastest on Thursday was the sole Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian putting in 90 laps of set-up and tyre work in the F2004, to finish just ahead of Williams rival Juan Pablo Montoya. The Colombian, along with Williams tester Antonio Pizzonia (tenth quickest) completed the BMW-powered team’s three-day test, which concentrated on set-up work, traction control and tyre compound testing for the British Grand Prix in July.

A third day in the revised McLaren MP4-19B saw Kimi Raikkonen fifth after 103 laps, immediately ahead of the Renaults of Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso, who were again locked together in the times after a day devoted to set-up work for Silverstone and other upcoming races.

"Our week at Silverstone concluded with a very productive session today,” reported Renault’s Chief Test Engineer, Christian Silk. “Our reliability this week has been exemplary, and that has allowed us to run as much as possible in the conditions and to learn a lot. We reached the necessary mileage on the engine evolution to be used at the next two races, made good progress with tyre development and advanced in our understanding of the car. Both drivers did a great job after completing two back-to-back races, and they have earned a little rest before they leave for Canada!"

Cristiano da Matta was eighth for Toyota after his third successive day in the TF104. "This week's Silverstone test has been focussed on set-work and tyre evaluations ahead of July's British Grand Prix,” he explained. “The test team mechanics have done a thorough job, which has been instrumental in allowing us to enjoy a trouble-free week. The car has reacted reasonably well to the track, but it has been quite bumpy during the session, something that I have also noticed at other circuits this year. Overall, though, I think we can be pleased with the work we have completed for Silverstone in parallel to what the team is doing in Monza in preparation for the next races in Montreal and Indy.”

Completing the Thursday line-up were the Jordans of Nick Heidfeld and Giorgio Pantano, who went ninth and 11th respectively. The team again focussed on Bridgestone tyre work for the forthcoming European races as well as aerodynamic and chassis developments for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Unofficial Thursday times from Silverstone:
1. Mark Webber, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:17.638
2. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:17.856
3. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:18.018
4. Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (Michelin), 1:18.119
5. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.208
6. Jarno Trulli, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.260
7. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.281
8. Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.540
9. Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:19.050
10. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:19.264
11. Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:19.651