For the first time since winter testing began in late November, someone other than a Ferrari driver has topped the time sheets and set the fastest lap time of the day. That man is Lewis Hamilton, powered by his McLaren Mercedes, and the lap time was 1m18.682s – 1.3 seconds quicker than the current king of testing – Felipe Massa. The Ferrari’s were languishing down in sixth for Massa, and twelfth for Luca Badoer, who was five tenths down on his team mates time.
Although it wasn’t all plain-sailing for young British driver Hamilton, as he ran off the track in the morning and was forced to pit while the McLaren team repaired the car.
The sudden explosion of pace from McLaren is interesting, especially so as the nearest lap time was almost exactly a second slower, set by Renault’s lead driver Giancarlo Fisichella. Either the other teams were not interested in lap times and were testing something else, or McLaren have bolted something special onto the car that enabled Hamilton to blitz the Jerez circuit.
Honda and Williams both saw improvements today, finding themselves in third and fourth spots respectively, and Klien in the second Honda finished the day in seventh place, just a smidge over two tenths off Barrichello’s pace.
Birthday boy Robert Kubica (now 22) was running today, and he managed to put his BMW in eleventh, three tenths shy of his German team mate Nick Heidfeld, who made his winter testing debut at Jerez this morning.
1. Hamilton – McLaren – 1m18.682s
2. Fisichella – Renault – 1m19.681s
3. Barrichello – Honda – 1m19.789s
4. Rosberg – Williams – 1m19.957s
5. R. Schumacher – Toyota – 1m20.019s
6. Massa – Ferrari – 1m20.030s
7. Klien – Honda – 1m20.048s
8. De La Rosa – McLaren – 1m20.134s
9. Heidfeld – BMW – 1m20.161s
10. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m20.198s
11. Kubica – BMW – 1m20.461s
12. Badoer – Ferrari – 1m20.553s
13. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m20.586s
14. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1m20.696s
15. Speed – Toro Rosso – 1m21.125s
16. Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m21.275s
17. Kobayashi – Toyota – 1m21.294s