Sebastian Vettel wrested back his crown as Red Bull’s leading young Turk after having been uncharacteristically outpointed by the team’s test driver.
After dominating proceedings for most of the week, Buemi was relegated to second place by Vettel’s fastest lap of 1:16.617 – the first sub-1:17 performance recorded on the unofficial timesheet all week.
The Swiss was, however, little more than three tenths of a second behind him with a fastest lap of 1:16.617.
Meanwhile, in third and fourth positions with little to choose between them were the BMW Saubers of Robert Kubica on 1:19.013 and Christian Klien on 1:19.066, with Kazuki Nakajima bringing up the rear for Williams on 1:19.341
Elsewhere, in Portimao, Pedro de la Rosa topped the very brief official timesheet in his McLaren with a fastest lap of 1:28.993 while Ferrari’s Luca Badoer brought up the rear on 1:30.163.
McLaren said of the test: “The final outing of the year allowed the test team to significantly improve its understanding of an interim 2009 aerodynamic package and KERS device.
“Both more reliable and more powerful, drivers have already begun refining the utilisation of KERS under braking and Pedro finished the test feeling very confident in the big steps taken with the system. Similarly, the engineers have gained considerable insight into optimal employment of KERS around a lap.
“With no testing scheduled until late January, the entire Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team now turns all its efforts towards the development of MP4-24 and its launch, in Woking, on Friday January 16.”
Toyota was also testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.