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McLaren lead Ferrari at maiden Algarve test 15 Dec 2008

Gary Paffett (GBR) McLaren Mercedes. Formula One Testing, Day One, Algarve Motor Park, Portimao, Portugal, 15 December 2008. Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.. Formula One Testing, Day One, Algarve Motor Park, Portimao, Portugal, 15 December 2008.

McLaren were the early leaders as this week’s three-day test got underway at Portugal’s Algarve Motor Park on Monday. With Red Bull, Williams and BMW Sauber all testing at the Spanish circuit of Jerez, Ferrari were the only other team in action at the new 4.7-kilometre Portuguese track.

Despite strong winds hampering his progress, McLaren tester Gary Paffett managed to cover 63 laps and clocked a fastest time of 1m 31.788s. Paffett spent most of the day running in the team’s KERS-equipped interim car, putting further mileage on the electrical unit and the 2009-spec front wing. Fellow test driver Pedro de la Rosa will be in action for the outfit on Tuesday.

Felipe Massa, meanwhile, took charge of the Ferrari and clocked a best time of 1m 32.926s. Massa concentrated his attentions on an engine endurance test, but managed just 36 laps before finishing ahead of schedule because he was feeling unwell. Testing continues at Portimao on Tuesday.

Unofficial Monday times from Portimao:
1. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:31.788
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:32.926