Paul Ricard day one - Hamilton fastest in France 16 May 2007
McLarens Lewis Hamilton was the quickest driver in action on Tuesday as this week's multi-team test got underway at the Paul Ricard circuit in the South of France. Hamiltons best time was a 1m 05.699s - over a second faster than the Toyota of Ralf Schumacher.
Hamilton covered just under 100 laps of the tracks 2D SC configuration, which has been designed to replicate the twists and turns of next weekends Monaco Grand Prix. Alongside the obligatory set-up and tyre work for the Monte Carlo race, the championship leader spent time analysing some of the MP4-22's mechanical components. He will continue to test on Wednesday.
After Toyotas double retirement in Barcelona at the weekend, Schumachers second place in the timings provided a bit of light relief for the Japanese team. The German completed 96 laps, as he evaluated Bridgestones super-soft tyre compound for the first time.
We had a good day with no reliability issues and got through our programme, explained Gerd Pfeiffer, Toyotas test team manager. Ralf was happier with the set-up later in the day and it has provided a good base for what is an important test. With Monaco coming up we have also been running the super soft and soft Bridgestone tyres.
Renault tester Nelson Piquet Jr finished third fastest, covering 125 laps in the R27. Piquet concentrated on preparations for Monaco and continued to make progress with the French teams development programme. Heikki Kovalainen will take over from the Brazilian on Wednesday.
Red Bulls recent strong form showed no signs of letting up as Mark Webber took fourth slot. Although the blustery conditions disrupted the teams plan to evaluate the RB3s aerodynamic settinga, Webber carried out 121 laps of tyre and set-up work. Just behind the Australian in the times was Williams' Nico Rosberg, who covered 128 laps in the FW29.
Sixth quickest was Felipe Massa for Ferrari. The Spanish Grand Prix winner worked on finding the best balance for Monaco and assessed some of the F2007s aerodynamic and mechanical components. Honda tester Christian Klien finished in seventh, after evaluating the cars latest aero configurations. Honda race driver Rubens Barrichello will test on Wednesday.
Timo Glock took charge of the F1.07 for BMW Sauber, covering 114 laps. Alongside set-up work, Glock tested new mechanical components and carried out systems work. James Rossiter, meanwhile, got his first taste of Super Aguris SA07 after being confirmed as the Japanese teams new test driver on Monday. Rossiter undertook balance work and tyre evaluations.
It has been a great first day with the Super Aguri team, explained the British driver. It felt good to be driving again having last driven in February and I thoroughly enjoyed it! After quickly getting to know the team and the car, we worked on finding good car balance and running with the Monaco wings in the morning. In the afternoon, we did longer runs evaluating the tyre options for the next race and we had good reliability.
Completing the days runners were Scott Speed, 10th for Toro Rosso, and Fairuz Fauzy, who finished 11th for Spyker. Fauzy, a member of the Dutch teams young driver programme, evaluated set-up, tyres and brakes for the Monaco race and completed 74 laps.
We went out just before lunch and did 10 laps to check the balance of the car, then focused on getting a good set-up for Monaco in the afternoon, said Malaysian Fauzy. We put some new tyres on, but unfortunately, I had a small problem on my quickest lap so the time isn't really representative of the progress we made. Our pace over the longer runs was pretty good - quicker than the Toro Rosso cars - and much better when we fitted new brakes, so that's encouraging for the team.
Testing continues on Wednesday, with all 11 teams expected on track.
Unofficial Tuesday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:05.699
2. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:06.920
3. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:07.056
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:07.161
5. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:07.189
6. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:07.271
7. Christian Klien, Honda, 1:07.357
8. Timo Glock, BMW Sauber, 1:07.712
9. James Rossiter, Super Aguri, 1:08.026
10. Scott Speed, Toro Rosso, 1:08.143
11. Fairuz Fauzy, Spyker, 1:09.433