Lewis Hamilton kept his McLaren’s nose ahead of both Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher in the closely-fought first day of the latest Barcelona test.
The British driver put in a fastest lap of 1:22.276, beating Raikkonen by less than a tenth of a second, and Schumacher by just over a tenth.
In fourth place was another impressive performance by Williams rookie Kazuki Nakajima – whose feat of running over his mechanics in Brazil last year, his only Formula One race so far, overshadowed the fact that he put in a better lap time than Nico Rosberg.
The Japanese driver, son of Formula One racer Satoru Nakajima, has similarly been impressive in testing over the last month, occasionally even propelling his Williams to the top of the standings.
Fifth behind him was McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen with a time of 1:22.852, followed by Rosberg in sixth with 1:22.974.
Drivers made a slow start owing to overnight rain that left the track damp through an overcast morning. However, a dry track in the afternoon allowed them to get to work.
McLaren said of their day: “Work for the morning was scheduled to be focused around practising pit stop procedures for the race team, as it will be for the rest of the week.
“In the afternoon on a drying track the team carried out final evaluations on new components and fine-tuned set-ups for the start of the season.”
David Coulthard had a poor session for Red Bull, bringing his car home at the bottom of the standings and putting in just 25 laps.
The team said: “Mark and David were both driving today for the first day of Red Bull Racing’s final test ahead of the F1 season. Both drivers followed a similar programme, focusing on mechanical set-up, brake development work and general pre-race preparation.”
Rubens Barrichello was on duty for Honda in a car that appeared to be performing very much in line with its recent outings. In a notable break from last season, the team has released no testing notes or public statements, unlike most of its competitors.
Super Aguri, still grappling ongoing financial problems, was absent – missing another test opportunity for the SA08 since all the team’s to date have been with an adapted SA07.
Barcelona test times 25/02/08
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:22.276 (78 laps)
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari: 1:22.319 (82 laps)
- Michael Schumacher, Ferrari: 1:22.428 (83 laps)
- Kazuki Nakajima, Williams: 1:22.724 (54 laps)
- Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren: 1:22.852 (71 laps)
- Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1:22.974 (108 laps)
- Fernando Alonso, Renault: 1:23.021 (79 laps)
- Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber: 1:23.075 (75 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:23.091 (62 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso: 1:23.115 (71 laps)
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:23.188 (95 laps)
- Christian Klien, BMW Sauber: 1:23.239 (43 laps)
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:23.270 (70 laps)
- Nelson A. Piquet, Renault: 1:23.442 (42 laps)
- Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:23.609 (86 laps)
- Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota: 1:23.880 (29 laps)
- Rubens Barrichello, Honda: 1:24.460 (115 laps)
- Alexander Wurz, Honda: 1:24.667 (109 laps)
- David Coulthard, Red Bull: 1:24.826 (25 laps)