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Paul Ricard day four - Raikkonen once more 18 May 2007

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN), Ferrari F2007. Formula One Testing, Paul Ricard, France, Day Four, Friday 18 May 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Franck Montagny (FRA), Toyota TF107. Formula One Testing, Paul Ricard, France, Day Four, Friday 18 May 2007. World © Patching/Sutton James Rossiter (GBR), Super Aguri F1 Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Paul Ricard, France, Day Four, Friday 18 May 2007. World © Patching/Sutton James Rossiter (GBR), Super Aguri F1 Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Paul Ricard, France, Day Four, Friday 18 May 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Nick Heidfeld (GER), BMW Sauber F1.07. Formula One Testing, Paul Ricard, France, Day Four, Friday 18 May 2007. World © Patching/Sutton

This week’s final day of testing at Paul Ricard saw Kimi Raikkonen retain his position at the top of the timesheets for Ferrari, with a best time of 1m 28.624s. Raikkonen was closely followed by the Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella, who finished less than a tenth of a second down after both men completed more than 100 laps of the French circuit.

While both the Ferrari driver and the Renault racer concentrated on finding the best set-up for June’s Canadian Grand Prix, Fisichella also managed to fit in some aerodynamic testing.

"We had a good day: 112 laps with no problems,” explained the Italian. “In terms of performance, the times are very closer and I am pleased with what we achieved today, as well as the handling of the car. We completed a big programme in preparation for Canada, and I think we are going in the right direction. I am pleased to be here working with the team today, because I know how important it is for us all to work hard at the moment."

Pedro de la Rosa was third fastest for McLaren, six-tenths adrift of Raikkonen, as he wrapped up the team’s test plan. The Spaniard covered 79 laps, as he completed a series of set-up and tyre programmes. From there the times got very tight, with the remaining drivers covered by less than three-quarters of a second, from Toyota’s Franck Montagny in fourth down to Tonio Liuzzi in 11th for Toro Rosso.

A trouble-free day for Montagny saw the Frenchman complete 79 laps for the Japanese team, as he evaluated tyres and worked on various balance options on the TF107. Just three-tenths down was the Williams of Kazuki Nakajima, who finished the session fifth fastest.

David Coulthard was hot on the heels of the Japanese tester, taking sixth slot for Red Bull. Even though the French circuit was configured to resemble Canada’s Montreal track, Coulthard spent some of the day working on the RB3's suspension for this weekend’s Monaco race. A slight gearbox problem in the afternoon, however, ended the Scot’s day after 77 laps.

Super Aguri’s James Rossiter, seventh, and Spyker’s Adrian Sutil, eighth, managed to clock exactly the same best time - a 1m 29.869s - during the day’s running. While Rossiter completed Super Aguri’s aerodynamic analysis and evaluated tyres, Sutil concentrated on testing brake balance on the F8-VII.

BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld was ninth quickest as he completed a tyre comparison test and adjusted the set-up of the F1.07 to suit his driving style. Just behind Heidfeld was the tenth-placed Honda of Jenson Button. Completing 100 laps in total, Button evaluated the team’s aero components for the Canadian race and finished just ahead of Toro Rosso’s Liuzzi.

The teams will next be on track in first practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday, May 24.

Unofficial Friday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:28.624
2. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:28.641
3. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:29.249
4. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:29.312
5. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:29.631
6. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:29.834
7. James Rossiter, Super Aguri, 1:29.869
8. Adrian Sutil, Spyker, 1:29.869
9. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:29.978
10. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:29.989
11. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso, 1:29.993