Defending champion Jenson Button set out to remind everyone why he has the number ‘1’ on his car this year by storming to the top of the timesheets with the quickest pre-season test time at Jerez.
The McLaren driver rattled off a brisk qualifying-style 1:18.872 lap time early on Saturday’s running, and no one else managed to break into the 1m18s barrier.
Just outside the barrier was Renault’s Robert Kubica, 0.243s behind the Briton.
Having caused an early red flag with an on-track error, Kamui Kobayashi steadily hauled his Sauber Ferrari up the timesheets to end the day third overall.
Virgin Racing and Lotus were again at the rear of the field, although both teams achieved quickest times within 4.5s of Button by day’s end.
Critically for the rather maligned Virgin Racing team, they went quicker than their debutant rivals, with a margin of more than 1 second over the 1Malaysia-owned operation.
Despite being quicker, Timo Glock managed just 28 laps on track and spent much of his day in the garage having a series of issues attended to by the team.
Jarno Trulli, however, managed the equivalent of two race distances in his first outing for Lotus.
With sunny weather all round, it was a case of ‘heads down, bums up’ for all teams present, who were desperate to rack of long runs in the fry conditions. With the exception of just three drivers, all others managed to rack up in excess of 100 laps by day’s end.
The final pre-season test is scheduled to start at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona next week.
|Kubica ran second-quickest||Nico Rosberg racks up laps||Alonso managed 137 laps|
|Williams need reliability||Glock manages only 28 laps||Trulli’s first Lotus outing|
[Images via AUTOSPORT]
Saturday’s testing times:
|1.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes||1:18.872||(108)|
|3.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari||1:19.188||(117)|
|4.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India Mercedes||1:19.650||(80)|
|5.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:20.061||(130)|
|7.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:21.053||(139)|
|8.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault||1:21.194||(87)|
|9.||Nico Hülkenberg||Williams Cosworth||1:21.919||(137)|
|10.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth||1:22.433||(28)|
|11.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus Cosworth||1:23.470||(141)|
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