Barcelona day three - Button stuns in Spain 11 Mar 2009
Jenson Button was the man to beat as this weeks test continued at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday. Button, driving the Brawn GP 001, was the only runner to dip below the 1m 20s mark, clocking a best time of 1m 19.127s around the Spanish track to better the Ferrari of Felipe Massa by over a second.
The British driver completed a full race distance with live pit stops in the morning, followed by a qualifying simulation and various set-up evaluations in the afternoon. He covered 130 laps in total. Team mate Rubens Barrichello will be back in action on Thursday.
"It's been another great day and a very positive test generally, said Button. It's so good to have achieved a full day's running, including a race distance, without any issues and it's fantastic that we clocked up so much mileage. After the challenges we have faced, to come here and get off to such an encouraging start is just what we all needed and I can't thank the team enough. All that effort has really paid off and everyone can feel very proud."
Massa was also charged with carrying out a race simulation and despite a brief hydraulic problem, completed 109 laps in the F60. Third fastest was Robert Kubica for BMW Sauber. As it was Kubicas first day at the test, he carried out a variety of race-related situations to fine tune the working relationship between him and his pit crew. He also worked to find solutions for the F1.09's set-up and covered 109 laps.
Today was very productive, said the Polish driver. We tried various solutions we werent able to complete last week in Jerez because of the unfortunate weather conditions. Obviously our main target today was to do a lot of evaluations for the forthcoming Australian Grand Prix.
Fourth quickest was Toyotas Timo Glock, who ran through a programme of aerodynamic, suspension and set-up evaluations. Glock covered 132 laps and will be back in the TF109s cockpit on Thursday for Toyota's last day of winter testing. Four-tenths of second down on the German was Renaults Fernando Alonso, who covered 107 laps in the R29.
"It was another busy day for us, working on the set-up of the car and trying lots of different things so that we are ready for the first race, said the Spaniard. We are trying to find more and more performance from the car and also did some work to prepare for the Spanish Grand Prix which will be at this circuit. We are happy with our performance, but we have to keep working hard because the times between all the teams are very close."
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel completed 102 laps on his way to sixth in the times. Vettel evaluated some new components on the RB5 and will continue to test on Thursday. Seventh fastest was Nico Rosberg for Williams. Rosberg completed 89 laps in the FW31 to finish ahead of the Force India of Giancarlo Fisichella and the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi.
Completing Wednesdays runners was Lewis Hamilton for McLaren. After taking over from team mate Heikki Kovalainen, Hamilton got his first taste of the MP4-24s new aero package. He completed 86 laps, but his session was hampered by an off at Turn Two after lunch.
Although the front-wing endplate and nose struts were damaged after he hit the tyre barrier, the repair work was carried out quickly enough for the British driver to go back out before the sessions close.
Testing concludes at the Spanish track on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. Jenson Button, Brawn BGP 001, 1:19.127
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari F60, 1:20.168
3. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1.09, 1:20.217
4. Timo Glock, Toyota TF109, 1:20.410
5. Fernando Alonso, Renault R29, 1:20.863
6. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull RB5, 1:21.165
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams FW31, 1:21.324
8. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India VJM02, 1:21.545
9. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso STR4, 1:21.569
10. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-24, 1:21.657