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Silverstone day one - Alonso the pacesetter 14 Sep 2005

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, 9 July 2005

Renault and McLaren continued their battle for supremacy on Tuesday as Formula One testing resumed at the Silverstone circuit in England. With Renault readying another upgrade of their R25 car for Brazil, Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Alexander Wurz were separated by less than a hundredth of a second in the times.

Alonso was the busiest man on track, completing close to 120 laps of the British Grand Prix circuit, and his pace provided hope that the team may yet find the extra speed they need to match McLaren in the final three races of the season.

Wurz’s programme at the start of McLaren’s two-day session comprised suspension development and set-up work in the morning. The Austrian then tested the prime and option Michelin tyres for the forthcoming Japanese Grand Prix in the afternoon.

Ricardo Zonta was third fastest for Toyota in the TF105, just over a second behind Alonso, and half a second ahead of the second Renault of GP2 star Heikki Kovalainen. Team mate Olivier Panis finished down in eighth.

At Red Bull, Vitantonio Liuzzi put aside news that he won’t be racing again in 2005 to beat team mate Christian Klien, as the pair went sixth and seventh.

Very much in the spotlight at Silverstone, despite finishing a second adrift of Klien, was Anthony Davidson, making his test debut for Jordan. Engine problems meant the BAR third driver didn’t get any meaningful running until the afternoon, though he eventually put in almost 60 laps.

Completing the Tuesday timesheets was Pedro de la Rosa, running a 2006-spec Mercedes V8 engine in the McLaren MP4-20 for the first time. The team reported steady progress, despite long breaks between the Spaniard’s runs for engineers to analyse data and make software changes, as he clocked up 38 laps.

Testing continues at Silverstone on Wednesday, when Williams are expected to join the session with Antonio Pizzonia and Nico Rosberg.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Silverstone:
1. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.104
2. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.109
3. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.138
4. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.714
5. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:19.104
6. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:19.906
7. Anthony Davidson, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:21.011
8. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:21.610
9. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:24.477