The third day of testing wrapped up earlier with Jenson Button topping the timing sheet in the new Brawn GP car, the Briton lapping Circuit de Catalunya a full second faster than nearest rival Felipe Massa in the Ferrari. It wasn’t all smiles in Spain though as Lewis Hamilton ended the day at the bottom of the list, his McLaren having to be recovered from the wall after an off at Turn 2. The front of the MP4-24 suffered damage as the left side of the wing hit the barrier.
McLaren have offered an explanation for the apparent lack of pace though, Ron Dennis stating that the squad are leaving it as late as possible before using their Australian Grand Prix aero package. This has led to other challenges, but the former team boss is confident his car will be among the fastest at the end of the month.
We had a strategy for this year to leave it to the last possible moment to produce our aerodynamic package for the Australian Grand Prix.
That in itself gave us some production challenges and we have really only started to run the car in the last day with the Australian aero package. Ron Dennis.
The day however was all about the surprising form of the BGP 001, although Ross Brawn himself said it was expected after the hard work that had gone into the car back at the Brackley factory. It is likely that Button was on a low fuel load to have produced a time so far ahead of the others, but the car hasn’t looked too bad in the previous two days of testing.
It’s been another great day and a very positive test generally. 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. Jenson Button.
Elsewhere on the timing sheet, the usual suspects continued to show their form, with Robert Kubica driving well for BMW, and Timo Glock ensuring his Toyota TF109 remained in the mix. Fernando Alonso took to the track in the new Renault R29 and managed a fifth fastest lap. Sebastian Vettel was piloting the Red Bull RB5 while Sebastien Buemi took the controls of the Scuderia Toro Rosso. In an effort to make up for the lost time from yesterday, Buemi was the busiest man of the day today, completing 140 laps on his way to ninth.
The laps times set all seem fairly close, once again indicating that the field could be tightly packed this year. Aside from Button’s fastest lap, the spread from Massa to Hamilton is only 1.5s.
|1.||Jenson Button Brawn GP||1m19.127s||124 Laps|
|2.||Felipe Massa Ferrari||1m20.168s||109 Laps|
|3.||Robert Kubica BMW||1m20.217s||109 Laps|
|4.||Timo Glock Toyota||1m20.410s||99 Laps|
|5.||Fernando Alonso Renault||1m20.863s||107 Laps|
|6.||Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing||1m21.165s||102 Laps|
|7.||Nico Rosberg Williams||1m21.324s||89 Laps|
|8.||Giancarlo Fisichella Force India||1m21.545s||97 Laps|
|9.||Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m21.569s||140 Laps|
|10.||Lewis Hamilton McLaren||1m21.657s||82 Laps|