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Jerez day one - Massa fastest in Spain 07 Dec 2006

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain. 6 December 2006. World © Bumstead/Sutton. (L to R): James Rossiter (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Test Driver talks with former Honda colleague Anthony Davidson (GBR) Super Aguri F1 Team. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 6 December 2006. World © Hartley/Sutton. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R26 Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain. 6 December 2006. World © Bumstead/Sutton. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/21. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 6 December 2006. World ©  Hartley/Sutton. Christian Klien (AUT) Honda RA106 Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain. 6 December 2006. World © Bumstead/Sutton.

After dominating last week’s timesheets in Barcelona, Ferrari appear to still have an advantage in Jerez, with Felipe Massa taking the honours on the first day of testing on Wednesday. The Brazilian clocked a fastest lap of 1m 19.448s, while long-time Ferrari tester Luca Badoer was second quickest - just three-tenths off his Brazilian team mate’s time.

Both Ferrari drivers spent their first day at the Spanish circuit kick starting an intensive technical programme. The pair will be back in action on Thursday, conducting an engine endurance programme and testing new components.

McLaren’s new signing Lewis Hamilton was third fastest, with team mate Pedro de la Rosa seventh. Taking advantage of the damp conditions at the start of the day, Hamilton and De la Rosa initially tested Bridgestone’s wet-weather tyres before reverting to dry tyres in the afternoon. Alongside acclimatising to their new Bridgestone rubber, Hamilton concentrated on rear suspension work, while De la Rosa continued the front wing work he began in Barcelona last week.

Christian Klien was fourth fastest, as he continued to familiarize himself with the Honda. Klien was joined by fellow tester James Rossiter, who finished in eighth. After switching to the dry Bridgestone tyres after lunch, the team’s planned test programme got underway with both Rossiter and Klien focusing on car set-up. Honda race driver Rubens Barrichello will test on Thursday, replacing Rossiter.

Franck Montagny, meanwhile, was the lead Toyota driver in fifth, although he will only join the squad officially as test driver in January. Montagny was joined by 20 year-old Kohei Hirate, a rising star in Japan and a member of Toyota’s young driver programme. As it was Hirate’s first time in a Formula One car, short runs dominated his day, although in the afternoon he was able to spend longer on track and eventually clocked the 15th-fastest time.

"It was very good day and it was a fantastic experience, a lot of fun,” enthused Hirate. “The car is very fast and physically it is harder to drive than the cars I am used to driving, it requires a lot of effort. I am happy to get the chance to work with the Formula One team and I think we did a good job. I didn't make any mistakes during the test session. We tried different set-ups and found a good set-up for the car. We have done a good job and now I am looking forward to getting the chance to test again."

Anthony Davidson, the only Super Aguri driver in action, impressed again after clocking the sixth fastest lap. Davidson, continued to test the new Bridgestone tyres with the team’s interim car.

Renault had both their race drivers in action, with Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella ending the session in 9th and 14th respectively. As this was Fisichella’s first day back in the cockpit, he spent most of the session acclimatising himself to the new Bridgestone rubber. Kovalainen, who had the benefit of his runs during last week’s test in Barcelona, was able to work on a chassis set-up programme.

"We found some interesting directions for the rest of the week on Heikki's car, while Giancarlo basically found his feet with the new tyres,” explained Christian Silk, Renault’s chief test engineer. “The morning session was not very productive owing to the conditions, but I think we managed to do some good work in the circumstances, and given ourselves a good platform for the rest of the week."

Nico Rosberg completed the top ten for Williams during his first outing in the Toyota-engined interim FW28B. After adjusting the balance of the car, he tested various brake balance positions and some traction control options.

Just one-tenth slower than Rosberg was his old team mate Mark Webber in the Red Bull. As the Australian continued to become acquainted with his new team, he was joined at the track by German test driver Michael Ammermuller, who ended the day in 13th. Vitantonio Liuzzi, 16th quickest, was the only driver in action for Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso.

Robert Kubica was BMW Sauber’s fastest runner of the day in 13th, while the team’s third driver Sebastian Vettel finished at the back of the pack in 17th. As it was only the team’s second test with Bridgestone tyres, both drivers focused on collecting more data with the new rubber. The team enjoyed a largely trouble-free day with the only incident Kubica’s brief off-track moment after oil leaked onto his tyres.

Testing continues at Jerez on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Jerez:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:19.448
2. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:19.697
3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:20.238
4. Christian Klien, Honda, 1:20.380
5. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:20.398
6. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:20.437
7. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:20.439
8. James Rossiter, Honda, 1:20.706
9. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:20.784
10. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:20.961
11. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:21.053
12. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:21.087
13. Michael Ammermuller, Red Bull, 1:21.143
14. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:21.282
15. Kohei Hirate, Toyota, 1: 21.424
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso, 1:21.472
17. Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, 1:22.071