Mark Webber finished on top of the times on the final day of this
week’s testing at Barcelona, the Australian taking advantage of the
drying conditions on a day hampered by heavy rain.
After a downpour in the morning, the sun dried up the track enough
to allow Webber to set a best time of 1:21.953 before the rain hit the
track again in the afternoon.
As a consequence, the Red Bull driver finished over 1.5 seconds
ahead of McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen, who set his time near the end of
the day, when the track was starting to dry up again.
All drivers used intermediate tyres during the test.
Kimi Raikkonen, taking over from Michael Schumacher at the wheel of
the updated Ferrari F2008, did not manage to complete significant
running on his only day of work in Spain, covering just 34 laps on his
way to the third fastest time.
Robert Kubica was fourth quickest for BMW Sauber, with Jenson Button rounding up the top five in the Honda after 41 laps.
Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima caused the only red flag of the day when
his Toyota engine let go late in the date at the first corner. Despite
that, the Japanese was the busiest man with 61 laps covered, one more
than Nelsinho Piquet, who returned to the wheel of the Renault R28.
Jarno Trulli finished at the bottom of the times with his Toyota after completing just 18 laps.
"We knew that rain was forecast for today so we didn’t expect to be
able to make too much progress," said Trulli. "When we finally did some
running we put in a few laps of wet set-up but with the track changing
so much it is always hard to draw too many conclusions.
"When we return here next week the conditions will be different
again. But we have had some solid days of testing here this year so we
can head into the race with confidence."
The Toro Rosso and Force India teams skipped today’s test, the
former unable to rebuild their car following Sebastien Bourdais’ crash
yesterday, and the latter deciding not to run in the wet.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:21.953 37
2. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:23.589 34
3. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:23.619 34
4. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:24.715 32
5. Button Honda (B) 1:24.873 41
6. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:24.927 62
7. Piquet Renault (B) 1:26.100 61
8. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:32.150 18
Kimi Raikkonen was the third and final Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver
to take part in this test session and he was only able to complete a
few laps, most of them in the wet. Only in the final hour was it
possible to fit dry weather tyres. The day in figures is as follows: 33
laps, the quickest in a time of 1.23.619.
preparations for the Spanish Grand Prix, which will be held at this
circuit on the forthcoming 27th April, continues therefore at Maranello
with the analysis of all the data gathered at this test and with the
shakedown of the two cars that Felipe and Kimi will use, taking place
at the Fiorano Track on Wednesday 23rd April.
Kimi Raikkonen isn’t ready to rule out McLaren as Ferrari’s main
rival this season, despite BMW being his closest challenger in the last
BMW have finished on the podium at every race this season and had both cars ahead of the two McLarens at Bahrain two weeks ago.
But the reigning champion thinks their positions could easily be
reversed during the next three races at very different circuits.
"Barcelona is one of the most difficult circuits for cars, then
after here it’s Turkey and the Monaco, and it can be a different story
again," he said.
"Hopefully we can keep the upper hand we’ve had in the last two
races, and BMW were stronger than McLaren at the previous race, so you
never know. But we’ll have to see what they’ve done here in testing."
Raikkonen also believes Lewis Hamilton’s poor form at the last two
races is a result of the McLaren slipping back into the clutches of BMW.
"If you don’t have as a good a package as you had last year, then it
is harder not to make a mistake," he added. "This is what happens."
He is also looking out for Renault to be able to join the battle at
the front of the grid after Fernando Alonso set the quickest time of
Wednesday’s test at Barcelona.
"I don’t have any idea what the other teams did on the other days
(this week), but I heard that Renault have made a step," he said. "You
presume that if they make a step it is a step forwards."
Raikkonen also sampled Ferrari’s new nose cone for the first time at
Barcelona yesterday, but the rain that affected the test prevented him
from evaluating it fully.
"I only did one run with it and that was in the rain. We tried some
little things but in these conditions you don’t really feel exactly the
"But they tested it during the week and it seems to be positive. It is a little step forward so that is good."