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Jerez day two - Hamilton makes his mark 08 Dec 2006

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/21. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 6 December 2006. World ©  Hartley/Sutton. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) and his trainer in the paddock with Ferrari. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, 7 December 2006. World ©  Hartley/Sutton. Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.06. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, 7 December 2006. World © Hartley/Sutton. Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams Formula One Testing, Day 2, Jerez, Spain. 7 December 2006. World © Bumstead/Sutton. Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB2 Formula One Testing, Day 2, Jerez, Spain. 7 December 2006. World © Bumstead/Sutton.

McLaren’s new race driver, Lewis Hamilton was the quickest runner during Thursday’s testing action at Jerez. Hamilton completed a lap in 1m 18.682s - eight-tenths quicker than Wednesday’s leading time, set by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.

Hamilton came out on top after running for 80 laps of the Spanish circuit, while working on mechanical set-ups and tyre combinations. Although the British driver’s session ended earlier than expected, after a brief off-track excursion, he will be back in action on Friday alongside Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren’s test driver. De la Rosa finished his second day of testing in eighth.

Just three-thousandths down on Hamilton was Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella. With rain forecast at the track on Friday, Fisichella and team mate Heikki Kovalainen, who finished tenth, were keen to complete as many miles as possible. While Kovalainen worked through a set-up programme, Fisichella concentrated on tyre work after some brake development work in the morning.

"I had a better second day and I am beginning to find my feet with these new tyres,” explained Fisichella. “I am feeling more confident with the car, and I made good progress with the car in spite of some delay this morning owing to poor track conditions. The tyres are harder than what we have been used to, which means the grip is not so good. But I was expecting that, so it is not a surprise, and things are going well during this first session back in the car.”

Taking over from James Rossiter, Rubens Barrichello made an impressive return to the test track for Honda, lapping the circuit in the third quickest time. Completing 105 laps in total, Barrichello ran through suspension and tyre evaluations. Christian Klien continued in his new role as Honda test driver and finished in seventh, after completing an intensive aero programme. Rossiter will return tomorrow to relieve Klien from testing duties.

Nico Rosberg, the only Williams driver in action, was fourth fastest during his second day in the team’s Toyota-engined interim car. Set-up changes and brake balance adjustment during the morning paid off with the team completing a race-distance run during the afternoon.

After dominating the times on Wednesday, Massa ended Thursday fifth fastest. Alongside tester Luca Badoer, who finished in 12th, Massa continued with Ferrari’s technical programme. New race driver Kimi Raikkonen, as yet contractually unable to start testing for the team, watched from the pits.

Ralf Schumacher was sixth quickest for Toyota on his first day of testing at Jerez. Concentrating on tyre and set-up work, Schumacher completed 70 laps. He was joined at the track by Toyota young driver, Kamui Kobayashi, who enjoyed his second day of testing after his debut in Barcelona last week. Twenty year-old Kobayashi continued to improve his lap times throughout the day, and ended the session in 17th.

"Today we did a lot of set-up work with Ralf in order to continue to get a clear understanding of the 2007 tyre generation from Bridgestone,” explained Dieter Gass, Toyota’s chief race engineer. “We learnt quite a few things with the changes that we made so we are happy with that. Komui, like Kohei Hirate yesterday, did a day of solid running, without mistakes, on his second day in the car and had a run with quick and consistent lap times at the end of the day.”

BMW Sauber, meanwhile, tested with both their race drivers. While Nick Heidfeld finished ninth, Robert Kubica celebrated his 22nd birthday with the 11th-fastest time. Kubica spent his last day at the test evaluating the team’s new gearbox and will be replaced by German driver Timo Glock on Friday.

David Coulthard was on track alongside his new Red Bull team mate Mark Webber. The pair finished in 13th and 16th. Sister team Toro Rosso continued to field only one car, with Scott Speed taking over from team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi to clock the 15th-fastest time.

Just under five-tenths faster than Speed was Super Aguri’s Anthony Davidson in 14th. With better weather, the team’s new race driver completed 112 laps, the highest number of the day, while evaluating suspension changes and continuing to test the new Bridgestone tyres.

Testing continues in Jerez on Friday.

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:18.682
2. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:19.685
3. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:19.759
4. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:19.937
5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:20.013
6. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:20.024
7. Christian Klien, Honda, 1:20.026
8. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:20.134
9. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:20.171
10. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:20.204
11. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:20.477
12. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:20.553
13. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:20.596
14. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:20.680
15. Scott Speed, Toro Rosso, 1:21.134
16. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:21.276
17. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 1:21.292