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Valencia day four - Hamilton makes his mark 02 Feb 2007

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Test Driver. McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 Launch, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia, Spain, 15 January 2007. World © Sutton

Lewis Hamilton put the memory of last week’s crash firmly behind him on Friday as he topped the times for McLaren in this week’s final day of testing in Spain. Hamilton was the busiest man on track, completing 120 laps - including a full race distance - in the new MP4-22, as he clocked a best of 1m 11.120s, over half a second up on the second-placed Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

After the rain earlier in the week, the showers mercifully held off for the extra day’s running, allowing Raikkonen to add116 laps to his tally in the new F2007. The Finn finished around half a second ahead of BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica, who worked on set-up and a new Bridgestone tyre compound until an oil leak ended his programme early.

Pedro de la Rosa was fourth in the second McLaren. His car suffered a Mercedes engine failure in the afternoon, but only after the V8 had run well beyond its scheduled lifecycle, having already completed over 1,100 kilometres in Fernando Alonso’s hands.

Giancarlo Fisichella was the leading Renault driver, fifth fastest to team mate Heikki Kovalainen’s seventh. Both the Italian and the Finn focused on endurance in the new R27, running 100 and 98 laps respectively.

Sebastian Vettel was sixth for BMW Sauber, the German youngster concentrating on set-up and aero work in the latest F1.07, while Mark Webber was Red Bull’s sole runner in eighth. For Red Bull, it marked the end of the new Renault-powered RB3’s first full test.

"We had some teething problems which means we did not complete as many laps as we would have liked," said the team’s head of race and test engineering, Paul Monaghan. "However, we learnt a lot and came up with fixes for some of the problems we encountered and we made progress throughout the four days. We are already building up a good relationship with the guys at Renault and we are now looking forward to an even more productive test at Jerez (next week)."

Jenson Button rounded out the times in ninth, the British driver concluding Honda’s four-day programme with the new RA107.

Testing resumes in Spain next Tuesday, this time at the Jerez circuit.

Unofficial Friday times from Valencia:
1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:11.120
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:11.847
3. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:12.242
4. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:12.401
5. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:12.566
6. Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, 1:12.675
7. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:12.687
8. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:12.781
9. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:12.992