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Jerez day one - Barrichello heads start of final test 16 Mar 2009

Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Brawn BGP001 Formula One Testing, 15 March 2009, Jerez, Spain. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R29 Formula One Testing, 15 March 2009, Jerez, Spain. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams FW31 Formula One Testing, 15 March 2009, Jerez, Spain. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R29 Formula One Testing, 15 March 2009, Jerez, Spain. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams FW31 Formula One Testing, 15 March 2009, Jerez, Spain.

Rubens Barrichello was the leading runner around Jerez on Sunday, as the final pre-season test got underway at the Spanish circuit. Barrichello made sure Ross Brawn’s was again the fastest team of the three present, with a best lap of 1m 19.236s.

As in Barcelona last week, the Brawn BGP001 looked both quick and reliable. Barrichello’s time was over half a second quicker than nearest rival, Renault’s Fernando Alonso, and the Brazilian completed 107 laps as he worked on a series of set-up and tyre evaluations, in addition to a number of race start simulations.

"We had a good day of testing today,” said Barrichello. “It is hotter in Jerez than it was in Barcelona last week and therefore more representative of the temperatures that we can expect for the first few races, so it is good preparation for myself and the car. The car ran very well once again and we are increasing our understanding of its characteristics every day."

Alonso’s day got off to a bad start, with a trip through the gravel early on causing damage to his R29. The team got him back out in the afternoon, but the Spaniard managed just 40 laps in total.

"Unfortunately I made a mistake this morning which was a shame as we lost a lot of track time, but sometimes this happens in testing when you are looking for the limits of the car,” said Alonso.

“This afternoon the team put the car together as soon as possible and we tried to complete our main priorities for the day, which was testing some new parts on the car. In the end we managed to do it and we were pleased with the results, although we certainly would have liked more laps.”

Williams tester Nico Hulkenberg completed the line-up for Sunday, which saw fine and sunny conditions throughout the day. The German covered 69 laps working through aero component tests and mechanical set-up changes in the FW31 and finished two-tenths down on Alonso.

The Brawn team, Renault and Williams are all due to continue at Jerez until Wednesday, with McLaren also expected to run from Monday to Thursday.

Unofficial Sunday times from Jerez:
1. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn BGP 001, 1:19.236
2. Fernando Alonso, Renault R29, 1:19.819
3. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams FW31, 1:20.015