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Jerez day one - Raikkonen sets the pace in Spain 15 Jan 2008

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008 Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 14 January 2008. World © Bumstead/Sutton Sebastian Vettel (GER) Toro Rosso Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 14 January 2008. World © Bumstead/Sutton Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-23. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, Monday 14 January 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1 Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 14 January 2008. World © Bumstead/Sutton James Rossiter (GBR) Super Aguri F1 SA07-5B. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, Monday 14 January 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton

Reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen got his 2008 season off to a flying start on Monday to top the timesheets during the first day of testing at Jerez. Raikkonen lapped the Spanish circuit in 1m 19.845s, beating Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa by just under three-tenths of a second.

Despite a wet start to the session, the Finn managed to cover 59 laps during the day in the Italian team’s new challenger, the F2008. Massa also enjoyed a trouble-free day, covering 43 laps. Both will continue to drive on Tuesday.

Third-quickest was Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari-engined Toro Rosso. Vettel covered 40 laps, enjoying his first taste of driving without traction control on a damp track in the morning. The young German was joined by new team mate Sebastien Bourdais who clocked the sixth fastest time in the second STR02.

The quickest driver for McLaren was fourth-placed Pedro de la Rosa in the new MP4-23. Tester De la Rosa completed 53 laps, despite not leaving the garage during the wet morning session. Team mate Heikki Kovalainen finished in fifth as he signed off several new components and worked through a general set-up programme.

Williams driver Nico Rosberg just missed out on making it under the 1m 20s barrier and took seventh spot on the timesheets. Team mate Kazuki Nakajima finished in 12th. The duo, both driving interim FW29s, worked on system developments.

Jarno Trulli was eighth quickest for Toyota as he gave the team’s new TF108 its debut test outing. Trulli, who completed 87 laps, was joined by new team mate Timo Glock, 13th. With the Italian charged with checking systems and making set-up changes, Glock focused his efforts on evaluating the 2008 gearbox in the Japanese squad’s car from last season.

“Today has been reasonable,” said GP2 champion Glock. “I did quite a few laps in the TF107 and even though it is last year’s car we can still get more information about the new gearbox and also how the car behaves without traction control, especially in the wet conditions this morning. We ran through our programme with no reliability problems but unfortunately I had a spin early in the afternoon when I touched the damp kerb and lost control which was a bit frustrating.

“I am excited by the chance to drive the new car tomorrow. The car has a totally new aerodynamic concept and so far everything has gone well with Jarno driving. Now I am really looking forward to getting the chance to drive the TF108 myself, it should be an interesting experience.”

Renault’s Nelson Piquet Jr finished in ninth as he completed his first day in the cockpit as one of the French team’s race drivers. After just a cursory outing in the morning, Piquet knuckled down to business on the dry track in the afternoon.

“I would have certainly liked the chance to get more time in the car today, but the conditions this morning were not ideal for either wet or dry tyres and so we had to wait for the weather to improve,” said the young Brazilian. “I'm still happy to get back on track for the first time this year and get my preparations underway. I am aware that there are lots of things that need to be done, and there is a lot of hard work ahead, but that is why we are here.”

Tenth quickest was Red Bull’s David Coulthard in the RB3. Coulthard concentrated on validating the car’s engine and gearbox operation ahead of the launch of the team’s new challenger on Wednesday. Team mate Mark Webber will be in action on Tuesday.

Over a second down on Coulthard’s Red Bull was ex-stable mate Vitantonio Liuzzi, who completed his first official day of duty as Force India’s new tester. The former Toro Rosso racer got to grips with the team’s 2008 electronics package and although two hydraulic problems hampered his progress he covered 47 laps.

Completing Monday’s line-up was James Rossiter for Super Aguri. Rossiter, 14th, only managed 10 laps before an undisclosed issue cut short his session.

Testing continues at Jerez on Tuesday.

Unofficial Monday times from Jerez:
1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:19.845
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:20.123
3. Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:20.732
4. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:20.883
5. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:20.936
6. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:20.997
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:21.143
8. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:21.344
9. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:21.595
10. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:21.745
11. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:23.035
12. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:23.134
13. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:24.351
14. James Rossiter, Super Aguri, 1:34.852