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Jerez day one - Buemi heads Toro Rosso one-two 09 Dec 2008

Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso Test Driver talks with Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday 9 December 2008. Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA) Renault R28 Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday 9 December 2008. Sebastian Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso Test Driver follows Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008 Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday 9 December 2008. Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday 9 December 2008. Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber 2009 Interim Car Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday 9 December 2008.

Sebastien Buemi led the times in testing at Jerez on Tuesday as six teams began a three-day session at the Spanish circuit. Buemi, who hopes to land a Toro Rosso race seat for 2009, was half a second quicker than Sebastien Bourdais, who in turn is looking to retain his drive with the team.

Mixed weather saw morning fog give way to intermittently dry and damp conditions, before a late downpour gave the teams the chance to try out their wet-weather tyres. Buemi was among the busiest men on track, the Swiss GP2 star completing 91 laps to Bourdais’s 77 as both ran 2009 downforce levels on the STR3 in combination with slick tyres.

When the rain came, Toro Rosso took the opportunity to compare this year’s Bridgestone rain tyre with a development version for the 2010 season. Buemi continues testing on Wednesday and Thursday, while Bourdais will hand over to Takuma Sato from Wednesday lunchtime.

The McLarens of Gary Paffett and Pedro de la Rosa were next up, completing just 26 and 21 laps respectively as the team restricted their running in the changeable weather. De la Rosa concentrated on set-up work in the MP4-23A, while Paffett evaluated boost levels in the KERS-equipped MP4-23K. Wednesday will see Heikki Kovalainen back in the cockpit for the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Beating Kovalainen back to the track by a single day, fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen made his Ferrari return on Tuesday, the former champion going fifth fastest after 48 laps of set-up and engine work. He will be joined by team mate Felipe Massa on Wednesday.

BMW Sauber had Nick Heidfeld (sixth) and tester Christian Klien (ninth) in action, both in interim F1.08Bs featuring some 2009 bodywork. Klien’s car was also fitted with BMW’s KERS device, but the Austrian’s schedule was curtailed after 15 laps following a precautionary engine change prompted by a suspected mechanical problem. Heidfeld, who will be joined by team mate Robert Kubica on Wednesday, managed 49 laps of set-up, suspension and aero work.

After an early visit to the gravel trap, Kazuki Nakajima went on to total 58 laps as he finishes seventh fastest for Williams. Set-up and slick tyre work were the Japanese driver’s main focus in the FW30B. Nico Rosberg will continue the team’s programme on Wednesday.

At Renault, Nelson Piquet was eighth after a mammoth 124 laps in the R28. The team evaluated 2009 set-ups and slick tyres, as well as putting mileage on their engine in preparation for next season’s three race engine rule. Wednesday will see Fernando Alonso’s first winter test outing for the team.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Jerez:
1. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:18.742
2. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:19.288
3. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:20.134
4. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:20.164
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:20.261
6. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:20.678
7. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:21.338
8. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:21.547
9. Christian Klien, BMW Sauber, 1:22.098