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Barcelona day one - Schumacher back on top 14 Nov 2007

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 13 November 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) Williams FW29. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, 13 November 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Roldan Rodriguez (ESP) Force India F1 Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, 13 November 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Frank Montagny (FRA) Toyota TF107 Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 13 November 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton Andreas Zuber (UAE) Honda RA107 Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 13 November 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton

Michael Schumacher made a triumphant return to the Formula One cockpit on Tuesday during the first day of testing at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. Schumacher topped the timesheets for Ferrari, with a best lap of 1m 21.922s, as all 11 teams kick started their preparations for the 2008 season at the Spanish track.

Schumacher's time was over two-tenths of a second faster than that of long-term Ferrari tester Luca Badoer, who finished in second, and the German was the only driver to make it around the track in under 1m 22s. Together, the pair covered over 130 laps during the day as they worked through an electronic programme for the F2007. Schumacher will continue to test on Wednesday alongside Felipe Massa.

Just behind the two Ferraris was the McLaren of Pedro de la Rosa. De la Rosa was joined by fellow tester Gary Paffett who eventually finished in sixth. Both were charged with running the MP4-22 without driver aids and together they covered 109 laps. The pair will continue for the British team on Wednesday.

Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen was fourth fastest, just ahead of BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica in fifth. Kovalainen was the French team’s only runner for the day and completed 81 laps, as he familiarised himself with the new 2008 ECU.

“I was very happy to back driving today,” explained the Finn. “Since Brazil I haven't been out on the track for several weeks so I was pretty impatient this morning. I have to say that driving without any assistance, as was the case today is really great. You have to pay attention to your driving, your reaccelerating, your tyre wear and behind the wheel it's fun. We did a good job on our first day back.”

Kubica, meanwhile, was joined by team mate Nick Heidfeld, who finished in tenth. The pair were also tasked with evaluating the new ECU and both will continue to test on Wednesday.

As David Coulthard set the pace for Red Bull in seventh, Karun Chandhok made his Formula One test debut with the Japanese team. Chandhok finished in 18th after spending the day running checks on new systems, while Coulthard evaluated several developments destined for the squad’s 2008 car.

Kazuki Nakajima finished eighth quickest for Williams, as he began his first test since being announced as one of the team’s race drivers for 2008. He was joined by team mate Nico Rosberg, 11th. The pair, driving interim FW29Bs, focused on component development and both will be back behind the wheel on Wednesday.

Jarno Trulli clocked the ninth-fastest time for Toyota, while tester Franck Montagny finished the day in 12th. The pair got off to a belated start with Trulli sick with a fever and Montagny hampered by teething troubles with the squad’s new ECU. In all the Toyota team covered over 100 laps.

“Today has been a productive day, even if it has also been a difficult one,” explained Toyota test team manager, Gerd Pfeiffer. “We had several new elements on the cars looking forward to next season, including the standard ECU and other items for 2008.

"Jarno was not feeling well today but he completed the work we had planned for him before he suffered an engine problem towards the end of the afternoon. Franck’s car used the 2008 engine control unit and we needed to do a bit of work in the morning to get him out on track.”

Sebastian Vettel was the leading Toro Rosso driver in 13th. Together, both he and new team mate Sebastien Bourdais, 15th, completed over 120 laps. Vettel was charged with evaluating the new ECU, while Bourdais ran a car with 2007 electronics, but without traction control and engine braking systems. Both will continue to drive on Wednesday.

Splitting the two Toro Rosso team mates was GP2 driver Andreas Zuber, who was making his Formula One debut for Honda. Zuber spent the day acclimitising to the car before finishing with a short qualifying run. He was joined by tester James Rossiter, who ended the day in 17th. Rossiter carried out a detailed systems check in the morning, before concentrating on longer runs in the afternoon.

Super Aguri’s Anthony Davidson finished in 16th, as he carried out development work for 2008. Completing the Tuesday line-up were Force India testers Giedo van der Garde, 18th, and Roldan Rodriguez, 19th. The duo took charge of two F8-VII cars fitted with the 2008 standard electronics package and completed over 80 laps each.

Testing continues at the Spanish circuit on Wednesday.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 1:21.918
2. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:22.133
3. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:22.687
4. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:22.802
5. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:22.883
6. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:23.008
7. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:23.159
8. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:23.187
9. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:23.624
10. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:23.671
11. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:23.847
12. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:23.861
13. Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:24.048
14. Andreas Zuber, Honda, 1:24.065
15. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:24.193
16. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:24.245
17. James Rossiter, Honda, 1:24.480
18. Karun Chandhok, Red Bull, 1:24.896
19. Giedo van der Garde, Force India, 1:25.317
20. Roldan Rodriguez, Force India, 1:26.297