Friday, February 13, 2009

Jerez: Bourdais leads the way

Thursday 12th February 2009

Seb Bourdais marked his first outing as a confirmed 2009 Toro Rosso race driver with a fastest lap time at Jerez on Thursday.

Only last Friday was Bourdais confirmed for this year's Championship, taking the final available seat on the 2009 grid.

Less than a week later and the Frenchman was back in action for Toro Rosso, safe in the knowledge that his F1 career had been handed a lifeline.

And he once again proved his speed to the team, clocking a 1:18.493 to take the P1 slot on the fourth day of testing.

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton may have been second overall, however, the McLaren driver was the quickest of those using their 2009-spec cars.

Completing 93 laps in his MP4-24, the reigning F1 World Champ posted a best time of 1:20.737.

"Today's test gave me the first opportunity to drive MP4-24 in warm, dry conditions - and I'm very encouraged by what I felt," he said.

"The car feels strong, very similar to last year's car, in fact. It doesn't take long to get used to the new buttons in the cockpit but the real test for everyone now is to understand the slick tyres ahead of the first race in Melbourne next month."

Seb Vettel, taking over from Mark Webber for the day, was third quickest, however, he was sidelined for part of the day due to some bodywork damage to his RB5 that took a couple of hours to fix.

Williams' Kazuki Nakajima was fourth quickest while once again it was a Renault bringing up the rear.

Fernando Alonso was fifth quickest, finishing half a second off Hamilton's pace. "Today was all about getting mileage on the car, especially with the new KERS system," said Alonso.

"It was my first full dry day in the car and so I was able to learn a lot. We completed lots of laps, which is encouraging and now we will start working on the set-up of the car so that I can get more comfortable with it."

1 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:18.493 126 laps
2 L. Hamilton McLaren 01:20.737 93 laps
3 S. Vettel Red Bull 01:20.738 92 laps
4 K. Nakajima Williams 01:20.898 92 laps
5 F. Alonso Renault 01:21.307 133 laps

source : Planet F1

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