Paul Ricard day three - Raikkonen takes charge 18 May 2007
Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen wrested the top of the timesheets from McLaren on Thursday, as testing continued for a third day at Paul Ricard. Raikkonen clocked a best lap of 1m 28.833s around the French track, which had been reconfigured from Wednesday's Monaco layout to replicate Montreals Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, thereby enabling all 11 teams to prepare for Junes Canadian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen covered 50 laps of the 5.255 kilometre track, after taking over from team mate Felipe Massa. The Finn worked on finding the F2007's best set-up and also compared Bridgestone tyre types.
Just two-tenths down on the Ferrari was the similarly-engined Toro Rosso of Scott Speed. The STR2 ran a low downforce configuration, as Speed assessed Bridgestones super-soft tyre compound and evaluated the cars balance for the Canadian race. The American will be replaced by team mate Tonio Liuzzi for the final day of testing on Friday.
Heikki Kovalainen was third fastest for Renault as he tested for a second consecutive day. Kovalainen focused predominantly on an aero programme and covered 89 laps. BMW Saubers Robert Kubica, meanwhile, was fourth in the F1.07. Kubica began by testing a variety of downforce options, before comparing the two tyre compounds which will be used in Canada, and carrying out several practice starts.
Red Bulls Mark Webber was fifth quickest. Apart from working through a programme of suspension testing, Webber adjusted the RB3s set-up to Canada-friendly low downforce levels. The Australian completed 84 laps in total, although slight drizzle in the afternoon delayed his schedule.
After taking over from race driver Ralf Schumacher, Toyota tester Franck Montagny finished in sixth. Montagny focused on set-up work for Montreal, as well as carrying out some work on the TF107s brakes. Unfortunately the Frenchmans running ended early when the car clipped a kerb and stopped out on track. Alex Wurz, back in action for Williams, was seventh fastest after covering 58 laps.
Although McLarens Lewis Hamilton had dominated the first two days of testing, the teams test driver Pedro de la Rosa found himself eighth quickest on Thursday. De la Rosa focused on tyre selection and also worked through brake and set-up programmes. The Spaniard covered 96 laps and will continue to test for the fourth and final days running.
Rubens Barrichello took ninth for Honda before handing over to team mate Christain Klien after lunch. Klien only managed a further 25 laps, however, before an engine failure brought an early end to his afternoon. The Austrian had been carrying out an in-depth tyre evaluation and finished tenth in the times.
Super Aguris new tester James Rossiter finished 11th, after evaluating the SA07s aero package for the Canadian race. The Spykers of Christijan Albers and Markus Winkelhock completed the line-up in 12th and 13th respectively. Winkelhock covered 43 laps during the morning, working through a tyre evaluation, while Albers took over in the afternoon. Albers had completed only 16 laps when a mechanical problem curtailed his days running.
Testing continues for a fourth and final day on Friday.
Unofficial Thursday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:28.833
2. Scott Speed, Toro Rosso, 1:29.039
3. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:29.070
4. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:29.157
5. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:29.179
6. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:29.205
7. Alex Wurz, Williams, 1:29.359
8. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:29.528
9. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:30.108
10. Christian Klien, Honda, 1:30.235
11. James Rossiter, Super Aguri, 1:30.286
12. Christijan Albers, Spyker, 1:32.245
13. Markus Winkelhock, Spyker, 1:32.756