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Barcelona day three - Piquet shines on final day 14 Jun 2008

Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA) Renault R28. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day Three, Saturday 14 June 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Horns on the monocoque of Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day Three, Saturday 14 June 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB4. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day Three, Saturday 14 June 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Jock Clear (GBR) Honda Senior Race Engineer talks with Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day Three, Saturday 14 June 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton

Renault’s Nelson Piquet moved to the top of the timesheets in Spain on Saturday as this week’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya concluded. Piquet’s best of 1m 20.076s put him four-tenths clear of McLaren’s Pedro de la Rosa.

Piquet continued with aero evaluations and suspension set-up work ahead of next weekend’s French Grand Prix. "Once again we completed the work that we had planned without any problems and we learnt a lot of things,” reported the Brazilian, who ran 112 laps.

“We continued with the programme we started yesterday by putting some new things on the car that the team hope to run in the coming races. I also had the chance to do some qualifying simulations in the afternoon, which went well. It's nice to be top of the times, but it doesn't really mean anything."

Pacesetter for the previous two days, Ferrari’s Luca Badoer, was third fastest after 63 laps. "It was a generally positive test," commented the Italian. "We were able to work continuously and without any major technical problems. We saw interesting results from some new components, which might prove useful in the forthcoming races. On top of that, we also got through everything we had planned in terms of engine reliability work."

Red Bull’s chief test engineer Ian Morgan said of Mark Webber’s 92 laps: “Mark, who ended up fourth fastest, validated the results we had seen yesterday and despite some persistent drizzle, we got some good answers and worked through our entire programme. We are pleased with the progress made with the mechanical and aero items and we also did over our target in terms of mileage for the three days, so we are looking forward to the French Grand Prix.”

Fifth fastest, after 85 laps, was Toyota’s Timo Glock: "Following on from our strong result in Montreal it has been a good two days of testing. We have been able to evaluate some braking and aerodynamic work as well as some mechanical changes in preparation for Magny-Cours. The changes we made to the car were positive and I was able to gather more data today in addition to what we learned yesterday. There were no problems until the very last run of the day when I had an engine issue."

At BMW Sauber, sixth place man Nick Heidfeld tested solutions to make the F1.08 better suited to his personal driving style. He evaluated different set-up options making considerable progress. Some time was also used to reconfirm Robert Kubica's previous testing results concerning the general set-up of the car.

At Honda, Rubens Barrichello was seventh after 83 laps. His schedule for the morning saw a continuation of the Japanese team’s chassis set-up programme, although running was interrupted by the few light rain showers. The Brazilian continued the set-up work into the afternoon, along with a suspension evaluation.

"We had a good two days in Barcelona this week and were able to cover a lot of mileage,” said Barrichello. “Without any major new test items, we focused on set-up work and I'm happy with the progress that we made. We were able to improve the car mechanically which gives me a good feeling going into the French Grand Prix next weekend."

Test driver Nico Hulkenberg took eighth spot for Williams after 60 laps, ahead of the Toro Rosso of fellow German Sebastian Vettel, who completed his team’s two-day programme.

“We tried various set-ups with the French race in mind and continued with evaluation of new suspension components,” said Toro Rosso chief engineer, Laurent Mekies. “We feel we have made a step forward but we won’t really know where we are until we get to Magny-Cours. Despite a couple of problems over the past two days, we nevertheless managed to successfully complete a long run programme too.”

With Barcelona testing complete, next port of call for the teams will be Magny-Cours and the French Grand Prix on June 20-22. The next major test takes place the following week at Silverstone.

Unofficial Saturday times from Barcelona:
1. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:20.076
2. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:20.402
3. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:20.680
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:21.03
5. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:21.158
6. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:21.295
7. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:21.672
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:21.674
9. Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:21.880