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Valencia day one - Rosberg first of five 28 Feb 2006

Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams. Formula One Testing, Day One, Valencia, Spain. 27 February 2006. World © Patching/Sutton

The final week of pre-season testing got underway on Monday, with three teams in action at Valencia in Spain. It proved to be a closely-contested session, with just four tenths of a second splitting the top four drivers, the quickest of which was Williams’ Nico Rosberg.

The circuit was damp and cold in the morning, but as the temperature picked up so did the on-track activity. Rosberg completed a total of 85 laps, focussing on mechanical set-up, while Williams team mate Mark Webber ran 68 laps on his way to third place, the Australian finalising the team’s tyre choice for Bahrain.

Busiest man of the day was Pedro de la Rosa in the second-placed McLaren. The Spaniard totalled 147 laps in the chrome-liveried MP4-21, as he concentrated on engine and tyre work during a number of long runs. McLaren also fielded test driver Gary Paffett in the older, V10 MP4-20. The Briton was charged with a programme of Michelin tyre evaluations and finished off the pace of the 2006 cars in fifth place.

Completing the somewhat sparse Monday line-up (further teams including Toyota and Honda are due to join the test from Tuesday) was the lone Renault of Heikki Kovalainen. The team’s objective for the day was to cover a race distance and continue tyre development, but mechanical problems at lunchtime meant the Finn managed only 55 laps on his way to fourth in the timesheets.

Testing continues at Valencia on Tuesday.

Unofficial Monday times from Valencia:
1. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:11.030
2. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:11.229
3. Mark Webber, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:11.372
4. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:11.449
5. Gary Paffett, McLaren (Michelin), 1:13.053