Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lewis quickest of '09-specs, Alonso closes gap

Friday 13th February 2009

Lewis Hamilton once again proved to be the quickest driver in a 2009-spec car at the Jerez circuit on Friday, although Renault's Fernando Alonso will be encouraged after closing the gap to the McLaren.

As to be expected, Sebastien Bourdais set the pace on Friday, the final day of testing for the week, as his 2008 Toro Rosso continued to dominate. The Frenchman clocked a 1:17.472 in what the team hopes will be the STR3's final outing.

"It's been a while since I've driven and it's good to get back in the groove," said Bourdais, who was confirmed as a 2009 STR driver just last week.

"We are just continuing to evaluate tyres and understand how the slicks are working, as well as trying a few things on the geometry of the car. All in all, a useful working session."

Of this year's cars, though, it was Hamilton who once again led the way, the McLaren driver posting a 1:19.632 to beat Renault rival Alonso by less than a quarter of a second.

It was an encouraging result for Alonso and Renault as the team has struggled - since now - to get the needed pace out of their R29.

Nico Rosberg was fourth for Williams, finishing ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber. A mechanical issue, though, saw the Australian sidelined for part of the morning's running.

"Apart from a few minor niggles, which are to be expected with a brand new car, this first test has produced pleasing results," said Head of Race Engineering, Ian Morgan.

"RB5 proved to be generally reliable and its performance seems encouraging straight out of the box."

1 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:17.472 117 laps
2 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:19.632 94 laps
3 F. Alonso Renault 01:19.846 109 laps
4 N. Rosberg Williams 1:21.217 71 laps
5 M. Webber Red Bull 1:21.313 62 laps

Source : Planet F1

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