Jerez day two - Hamilton takes control in Spain 06 Dec 2007
McLarens Lewis Hamilton set the pace as he returned to testing at Jerez in Spain on Wednesday. Despite an early trip into the gravel, Hamilton ended the session just under a tenth of a second quicker than Red Bulls David Coulthard, who was running Bridgestones experimental slick tyres.
Hamiltons programme was principally focused on aerodynamic testing, as he took to the track for the first time with no driver aids. "It was pretty cool to be back behind the wheel of my car again today, said the British driver. It has felt like a very long time since the Brazilian Grand Prix. I have missed my car!
I have really kick started my preparations for the 2008 season today and there are only 101 days to go until Australia. I know the time is going to go really quickly, but I am feeling pretty impatient already! It was the first time I have driven the car without driver aids and it was good fun. It does feel quite different and of course there is some adapting to do in driving style, but in GP2 we didnt have driver aids, so I have some recent experience of it."
Coulthard enjoyed his time on the 2009-spec slick tyres, saying that it reminded him of his 1997 European Grand Prix drive at the circuit, the race in which he politely handed victory to McLaren team mate Mika Hakkinen. Coulthard completed an aero test and continued with chassis set-up work. It was a less satisfying session for team mate Mark Webber, who was at the wheel of a car fitted with 2008 electronics. A couple of problems cost him significant track time, leaving him 15th fastest.
The recently-wed Felipe Massa led the way for Ferrari, as he outpaced newly-crowned world champion Kimi Raikkonen for third spot. Michael Schumacher is scheduled to take over from Raikkonen on Thursday.
Fifth place went to Pedro de la Rosa, who spent the morning continuing McLarens Tuesday chassis programme before switching to running with the 2009 development Bridgestone slicks during the afternoon. Renault also focussed on the slick tyres, with Nelson Piquet sixth fastest despite delays following a morning spin.
"From an engineering point of view, working with new tyres always presents an interesting challenge, said Christian Silk, Renaults chief test engineer. They demand different set-ups and also require different styles from the drivers, and that is always a productive experience. It could have been a better day for the team, after our delays this morning, but we are still satisfied with what we learned today."
Christian Klien was the quicker of two drivers in action for Force India, the Austrian going seventh fastest to Giancarlo Fisichellas ninth. Both worked on general set-up, chassis development and evaluation of the slick Bridgestone tyres. Klien proved the quicker man on the slicks, while Fisichella was marginally faster on grooved rubber.
Toro Rosso again had their two Sebs in action. Sebastian Vettel started the day at the wheel of a car fitted with the 2008 electronics, while Sebastien Bourdais was in a 2007 car with the electronic aids switched off. For part of the day, the two men swapped cars to better evaluate some modified car systems and progress with the development of the '08 electronics. Testing new brake material was also on the teams agenda.
At BMW Sauber Nick Heidfeld was again doing work with the Bridgestone slick tyres. The team also worked with Robert Kubica on the mechanical and aerodynamic set-ups for the car, as well as the development of the 2008 electronics. Kubica finished 10th in the times, Heidfeld 20th.
Timo Glock was the quickest Toyota driver in 11th. The German had a fairly standard TF107 at his disposal, with electronic driver aids disabled, and he focused on understanding mechanical and aerodynamic set-up with the 2008 traction control ban in mind. His programme ended around 90 minutes before the chequered flag as the team is closing in on the 30,000-kilometre annual testing limit. Team mate Kamui Kobayashi was charged with completing as many laps as possible in his more heavily-modified TF107, which featured a revised rear end and the 2008 standard ECU. The Japanese driver was 19th fastest.
Nico Hulkenberg had his second day in the cockpit for Williams, the German going 16th fastest, less than half a second down on Nico Rosberg, who finished 13th. Meanwhile, Honda ran young driver programme member Andreas Zuber in a Super Aguri, the Austrian taking 14th spot, three places up on Super Aguri racer Anthony Davidson. Rubens Barrichello was 18th in Hondas own car as he continued the development work started by Jenson Button on Tuesday on the new 2008 electronics controls system.
Testing continues at Jerez until Friday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Jerez:
1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:19.371
2. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:19.421
3. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:19.761
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:19.779
5. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:19.887
6. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:19.982
7. Christian Klien, Force India, 1:20.187
8. Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:20.398
9. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:20.470
10. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:20.487
11. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:20.523
12. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:20.533
13. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:20.671
14. Andreas Zuber, Honda, 1:20.897
15. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:20.944
16. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:21.068
17. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:21.076
18. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:21.184
19. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 1:21.699
20. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:22.875