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Barcelona day one - Badoer sets the pace in Spain 13 Jun 2008

Luca Badoer (ITA) Ferrari F2008.
Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day One, Thursday, 12 June 2008 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Toyota TF108.
Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day One, Thursday, 12 June 2008 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Renault R28. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day One, Thursday 12 June 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day One, Thursday 12 June 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton

Ferrari’s Luca Badoer was the fastest man around Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday, as this week’s three-day test got underway in preparation for the forthcoming French Grand Prix. Badoer was just over two-tenths quicker than second-place man Robert Kubica for BMW Sauber.

Although interrupted by a brief rain shower late in the day, Badoer covered 82 laps as he kick-started an intensive programme for the Italian team. The test driver experimented with various new aerodynamic solutions in the F2008 and will continue to test on Friday.

Despite a brief technical problem in the morning, Canadian race victor Kubica completed 69 laps in BMW Sauber’s F1.08. He concentrated on evaluating set-up options for Magny-Cours and will continue his programme for a second day, before handing over the car to team mate Nick Heidfeld on Saturday.

Red Bull’s David Coulthard finished third, just ahead of team tester Sebastian Buemi, who spent the bulk of the day in the sole RB4. The Swiss driver, running predominantly on the harder-spec Bridgestone tyres, worked on preparation for the French race. Coulthard, whose programme was interrupted by the late rain, covered just 21 laps but will continue to test on Friday.

Gary Paffett took fifth slot for McLaren, ahead of former Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson, who found himself back in the saddle for Honda. Despite an oil leak in the morning and front-wing problems in the afternoon, Paffett managed to complete 36 laps as he evaluated new aero and mechanical components for the MP4-23.

Williams fielded tester Nico Hulkenberg, who ended the day seventh. Hulkenberg completed 112 laps in the FW30, concentrating on race set-up and finished just over a tenth of a second ahead of Renault’s Romain Grosjean, who made his test debut for the squad.

"It was a great day and I'm grateful for this opportunity to test the R28 and work with the team,” explained the young Frenchman. “It was interesting to see the difference between a GP2 car and an F1 car which is quite incredible, especially the acceleration and the lateral grip. The team made me feel very welcome and everyone was helpful as they knew it was my first time in the car. It was a great experience for me.”

Completing Thursday's line-up was Toyota’s third driver, Kamui Kobayashi, in ninth. Kobayashi, who last tested for the Japanese team back in February, took full advantage of his time in the TF108, covering 82 laps and working through an aerodynamic and mechanical programme.

Testing continues in Barcelona on Friday.

Unofficial Thursday times from Barcelona:
1. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:22.412
2. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:22.682
3. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:22.724
4. Sebastian Buemi, Red Bull, 1:22.764
5. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:22.938
6. Anthony Davidson, Honda, 1:23.208
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:23.619
8. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 1:23.899
9. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 1:24.442