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Jerez day one - De la Rosa sets the pace in Spain 25 Jul 2007

Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 24th July 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Sebastien Buemi (SUI) tests for Red Bull. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 24th July 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA) Renault R27 Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 24th July 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) Williams FW29 Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 24th July 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Christian Klien (AUT) Honda RA107 Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 24th July 2007. World © Patching/Sutton

McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa dominated the timesheets in Jerez on Tuesday, as this week's three-day test got underway at the Spanish circuit. De La Rosa clocked a quickest lap of 1m 20.111s - over a second faster than Toyota’s Franck Montagny.

After enduring wet conditions at the previous multi-team test at Spa, the day’s runners enjoyed bright sunshine and track temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius, as they began preparations for the forthcoming Hungarian Grand Prix.

De la Rosa completed 69 laps, carrying out set-up and aerodynamic work. The Spaniard also spent some of the day running without traction control as the team looked ahead to the 2008 regulation changes.

Toyota’s Montagny, meanwhile, covered 73 laps in the TF107. The French tester concentrated on brakes, systems and start work, but also ran without traction control for some of the day. The Japanese team’s race driver Ralf Schumacher will replace him on Wednesday.

“Apart from shakedowns and straight line tests this is the first time that I have driven this car for over two months,” explained Montagny. “But I’ve trained hard in the meantime so it didn’t feel any different to usual, even despite the extreme heat today, so that is good. We spent much of the day running without traction control in preparation for 2008. That meant the car was sliding a lot but we put in some useful laps and found a good direction to take.”

Williams' test driver Kazuki Nakajima clocked the third-quickest time and was the day's most productive driver, covering 104 laps, as he worked on the FW29’s set-up. Just over two tenths down on the Japanese was Super Aguri’s test driver James Rossiter, who completed 92 laps in the SA07. Rossiter ran through initial set-up work and also carried out some longer tyre runs.

Christian Klien ended the day fifth after kick starting Honda’s programme. Klien covered 41 laps as he ran through a front aero test in the morning and after lunch completed a further 29 lap as he evaluated new mechanical parts. The Austrian will hand over to race driver Rubens Barrichello on Wednesday.

Renault tester Nelson Piquet Jr finished sixth fastest. Piquet’s primary objective was to accumulate mileage on the R27’s low-downforce package, which the team plan to use at the Italian Grand Prix in September. Though the car’s set-up was not ideal for the high-downforce Jerez circuit, the young Brazilian covered 68 laps. He also completed a basic set-up programme in the afternoon. Race driver Heikki Kovalainen will be in action for the French team on Wednesday.

Completing the day’s line-up was rookie driver Sebastien Buemi, who took charge of Red Bull’s testing duties for the day. Eighteen year-old Buemi, who is currently competing in the Formula 3 Euroseries, is a member of Red Bull’s Junior driver programme. He completed 78 laps in RB3 as he carried out aero testing and set-up work.

“I have driven the F1 car before, but only in a straight line, so this was the first time I have experienced corners as well,” he explained. “The power out of the turns feels good but the most impressive elements of the package are the way the car goes through the quick corners, which is so much better than anything else I’ve experienced. Towards the end of the day, my neck was beginning to get a bit sore, which I guess is normal, but I’m sure it will be fine by Thursday when I hope to have another run in the car.”

Testing continues at Jerez on Wednesday, when the BMW Sauber team will also be in action.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Jerez:
1. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:20.111
2. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:21.136
3. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:21.424
4. James Rossiter, Super Aguri, 1:21.683
5. Christian Klien, Honda, 1:22.035
6. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:22.537
7. Sebastien Buemi, Red Bull, 1:22.565