After four days of testing at France’s Paul Ricard circuit for the majority of Formula One’s teams, Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen evened his ego out with Lewis Hamilton, having taken the fastest lap for the second day in succession. The Finn pounded the longer layout of the circuit 101 times, using the ‘Montreal’ configuration in an attempt to reproduce the effects on the car that Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will after next weekends Monaco Grand Prix. Looking at the times and times alone, it looks as though Ferrari could have the upper hand in Canada, while McLaren look strong for a Monaco win. However, as with all testing times, a pinch of salt should be taken when reviewing the stopwatch.
Giancarlo Fisichella improved the placing of Renault, setting a respectable second fastest lap, and the Italian was closely followed by the McLaren of Pedro De La Rosa, improving their time from yesterday. Toyota showed that they have been working hard on their dog of a car, with Franck Montagny going fourth fastest and doing better than his sixth place the day previous.
David Coulthard was back in action in the Red Bull and managed to lap close to the fifth placed Williams. James Rossiter – now driving for Honda B-team Super Aguri – managed to squeeze in 132 laps and set the seventh quickest lap of the day, while BMW took a set back to ninth with Adrian Sutil in the Spyker beating Nick Heidfeld to eighth.
The Honda of Jenson Button and Vitantonio Liuzzi in the Toro Rosso rounded off the timing sheet. As mentioned previously, the times set by the midfield are very close together, with De La Rosa setting a 1m29.249s in third, and Liuzzi lapping in 1m29.993s, just 0.7s separate the teams, which may produce an excellent Canadian Grand Prix in three weeks time.
1. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1m28.624s
2. Fisichella – Renault – 1m28.641s
3. De La Rosa – McLaren – 1m29.249s
4. Montagny – Toyota – 1m29.312s
5. Nakajima – Williams – 1m29.631s
6 Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m29.834s
7. Rossiter – Super Aguri – 1m29.869s
8. Sutil – Spyker – 1m29.869s
9. Heidfeld – BMW – 1m29.978s
10. Button – Honda – 1m29.989s
11. Liuzzi – Toro Rosso – 1m29.993s