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Valencia day one - McLaren on top 22 Feb 2005

Alex Wurz (AUT) McLaren MP4/19. Formula One Testing, Valencia, Spain, 21 February 2005. World © McNeil/Sutton

McLaren dominated testing in Spain on Monday as three teams chose the Valencia circuit for their final pre-season sessions ahead of next month’s Australian Grand Prix.

Using the team’s interim MP4-19B machines, test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz comfortably topped the times as they concentrated on simulating the Friday of a Grand Prix weekend. McLaren are due to run a third car for the first time in Melbourne following their fifth-place finish in last year’s constructors’ championship.

Despite three red flags during the day caused by cars stopping on track, both de la Rosa and Wurz completed in excess of 100 trouble-free laps, a combined distance of close to 1000 kilometres. They used their track time for tyre comparison work with suppliers Michelin.

Michael Schumacher was third fastest, over two seconds behind the McLarens in the Ferrari F2004 M. The German focussed on endurance running, while he and team mate Rubens Barrichello, fifth in the times, also carried out tyre work with Bridgestone. Schumacher completed 90 laps, Barrichello 85.

Splitting the two Ferraris was the sole Williams FW27 of Mark Webber. The Australian carried out 81 laps, with set-up work in the morning before switching to tyre compound and construction evaluation in the afternoon.

Conditions at Valencia were dry, though rather cool, with track temperatures peaking at around 20 degrees Celsius. Testing continues at the circuit on Tuesday when Toyota and BAR are expected to join the session.

Unofficial Monday times from Valencia:
1. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:09.030
2. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:09.047
3. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:11.355
4. Mark Webber, Williams (Michelin), 1:11.672
5. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:11.699