Kimi Raikkonen set about reeling his opponents in today, as the Finnish driver set the fastest lap of the day on the slightly longer configuration at Paul Ricard. Having ran on the twisty sections for the last two days, Thursday saw practice for Montreal and Indianapolis, which are following Monaco next weekend. Raikkonen breaks Lewis Hamilton’s and McLaren’s dominance of the test so far, and driving the Mercedes today was Pedro De La Rosa. The Spaniard concentrated on tyres and set up work, as well as gaining vital data about the brakes, as Circuit Gilles Villeneuve can be a car breaker.
In second place and just 0.2s shy of the lead Ferrari was Scott Speed. Although his Toro Rosso does have a Ferrari engine in the back of it, seeing a Baby Bull so high up the tables is a little strange. Scott was running on Bridgestone’s super soft compound for much of the day, so this may explain his unusual pace. Heikki Kovalainen placed his Renault in third, and Giancarlo Fisichella is expected to take over the running of the car tomorrow. BMW ran Robert Kubica who finished the day in fourth, and as well as testing different tyre compounds, the Polish driver also made several practice starts.
Red Bull continued its improvements into fifth place for Mark Webber (they topped the chart until lunchtime), while Toyota test driver Franck Montagny popped his car into sixth. Williams ended up in seventh and the two Hondas wound up behind De La Rosa’s McLaren in ninth for Rubens Barrichello and tenth for Christian Klien. James Rossiter continued to test for Super Aguri, and set the most laps today by touring the Paul Ricard track 113 times. His fastest lap time of 1m30.286s is only 0.051s slower than the Honda works car of Klien. Both Spyker’s of Christijan Alebrs and Markus Winkelhock propped up the timing sheet.
1. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1m28.833s
2. Speed – Toro Rosso – 1m29.039s
3. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m29.070s
4. Kubica – BMW – 1m29.157s
5. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m29.179s
6. Montagny – Toyota – 1m29.205s
7. Wurz – Williams – 1m29.359s
8. De La Rosa – McLaren – 1m29.528s
9. Barrichello – Honda – 1m30.108s
10. Klien – Honda – 1m30.235s
11. Rossiter – Super Aguri – 1m30.286s
12. Albers – Spyker – 1m32.245s
13. Winkelhock – Spyker – 1m32.756s