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Hockenheim day one - Hamilton sets pace in Germany 08 Jul 2008

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 Formula One Testing, Hockenheim, Germany, Day One, 8 July 2008. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008. Formula One Testing, Hockenheim, Germany, Day One, 8 July 2008. Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM01 Formula One Testing, Hockenheim, Germany, Day One, 8 July 2008. Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.08. Formula One Testing, Hockenheim, Germany, Day One, 8 July 2008. Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW30. Formula One Testing, Hockenheim, Germany, Day One, 8 July 2008.

British Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton was the quickest man in action on Tuesday as this week’s multi-team test at Hockenheim got underway. Hamilton clocked a best time of 1m 15.483s for McLaren, as all ten teams began preparations for the forthcoming German Grand Prix. It is the first time the German track has hosted an official Formula One test since 1993.

With scattered showers interrupting proceeding, Hamilton covered 75 laps in the MP4-23. He was charged with suspension and set-up work for the Hockenheim race and also evaluated several new aero components, including a top body dorsal fin, similar in style to engine covers run recently by Red Bull, Renault and Toro Rosso. He will continue to test on Wednesday.

Over three-tenths of a second adrift of Hamilton was Kimi Raikkonen for Ferrari. Raikonnen covered 63 laps in the F2008, testing mechanical and aerodynamic components. Third fastest was Nico Rosberg in the Williams. With the British team keen to recapture the performance levels they had enjoyed at the start of the season, Rosberg had a busy day carrying out a brake package evaluation and a tyre compound test. He covered 87 laps.

Fourth-fastest was Adrian Sutil in the Force India. Sutil enjoyed a productive day, clocking 97 laps, as he tuned the VJM01 and continued to evaluate the squad’s new aero package.

“It was quite a good day, we could do lots of laps without any real problems,” said the German. “It was disturbed by the rain quite a bit but at least we did as much dry running as we could have done. Overall I am quite confident and feel very good. I like the circuit here - the last time I drove it was in 2005 in a Formula Three car so I was really looking forward to the first go today with the F1 car. It's just amazing how quick it is. I think tomorrow we will have better weather, so conditions should be more consistent.”

Just four-thousandths down on Sutil was Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais, who covered 113 laps in the STR3 as he carried out aero tests focused on the car’s front wing. Toyota third driver Kamui Kobayashi, meanwhile, took up the sixth slot. Kobayashi covered 65 laps in the TF108 and will hand over the car to Timo Glock on Wednesday.

Nick Heidfeld finished seventh for BMW Sauber as he worked on the F1.08’s basic set-up. Heidfeld completed 59 laps and will continue to test on Wednesday. Just under three-tenths shy of the German’s best time was Nelson Piquet for Renault. Piquet covered 111 laps in the R28.

“The weather was a bit inclement today as we had a few rain showers, but the main test items were completed, which was pleasing,” explained Christian Silk, Renault’s chief test engineer. “The car was reliable, and Nelson did a good day's work, which puts us in a good position for Wednesday when Fernando (Alonso) will be in the car."

Red Bull’s David Coulthard finished ninth after a frustrating day spent dodging showers. Coulthard covered 67 laps as he carried out his programme, which focused on tyre testing and a suspension geometry evaluation. Tuesday’s final runner was Honda tester Alexander Wurz, who completed 90 laps on his way to the tenth-fastest time.

Testing continues on Wednesday, when brighter weather is expected.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Hockenheim:
1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:15.483
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:15.803
3. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:16.099
4. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:16.516
5. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:16.522
6. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 1:16.570
7. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:16.593
8. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:16.856
9. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:17.361
10. Alexander Wurz, Honda, 1:17.825