Friday, March 6, 2009

Heidfeld quickest as Hamilton crashes out

Friday 6th March 2009

Nick Heidfeld completed the final day of testing at Jerez in pole position while defending World Champ Lewis Hamilton had another day to forget.

The drivers once again had to contend with a wet track this morning as rain lashed the Jerez circuit. But even after the water had all dried up there was still gusty winds for them to deal with.

Heidfeld, though, made the most of conditions to set the pace for BMW with the German completing a marathon 123 laps with a best time of 1:20.052.

That put him 0.35s ahead of second placed Kimi Raikkonen, who had a mixed day. Although he amassed 112 laps, the Finn reportedly suffered with intense back pain this morning that had Ferrari looking at his seat for a solution. Added to that Raikkonen also exited the pits under a red light, which should earn him a fine, and spun his F60 into the gravel.

But at least his day still went better than Hamilton's.

The McLaren's driver got off on the wrong foot as he broke down out on track and had to catch a lift back to the team's garage while his car was brought back on a flatbed truck. The team, though, soon got him up and running - but not for long.

After just 58 laps Hamilton lost control of his MP4-24 when it was hit by a gust of wind and ended up crashing backwards into the barriers. A disappointing end to a difficult test.

Mark Webber was fourth quickest for Red Bull, finishing ahead of Kazuki Nakajima and Jarno Trulli. Trulli, though, had an early end to his day as the Toyota driver damaged the front wing of his TF109 when running over the kerbs.

"That was a short day for us," said Trulli. "We lost the morning to the weather but in the afternoon we had a chance to try out the 2010 Bridgestone slick tyres. The conditions remained difficult because the wind was still strong.

"On one run I picked up some damage to the front wing after running over kerbs. Still, we made it through a number of runs and collected data for the future. As for this season, this test shows that things are going well for us so we can be confident."

1. Heidfeld BMW 1:20.052 123
2. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20.404 112
3. Hamilton McLaren 1:21.272 58
4. Webber Red Bull 1:22.219 47
5. Nakajima Williams 1:22.226 54
6. Trulli Toyota 1:23.119 38

source : Planet F1

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