McLaren’s Pedro de la Rosa has managed to put his team at the top of the unofficial timesheet during the final day of the final test of the 2008 Formula One season.
De la Rosa, who lost time to wet weather on the previous day, was able to take advantage of warm temperatures to set a fastest time of 1:18.992.
He was the only driver to break the 1:19 barrier, with second-placed Nick Heidfeld recording 1:19.250 for his BMW Sauber team.
McLaren said of the day: “The test team were able to complete their programme for the week with the focus remaining on aero development work for the upcoming races and the KERS evaluation programme.”
In third place was Lucas di Grassi, testing for Renault, while Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel, who had previously dominated proceedings, was a subdued fourth.
The Red Bull car was back in the hands of tester Sebastien Buemi, in fifth, while Toyota’s Timo Glock was the sixth-placed driver, also on his first day in the car this session.
Red Bull said: “The day was primarily dedicated to aero work and evaluation of several new components for the final four races of the year. Apart from a small delay with a mechanical problem, the day was productive and the high number of laps made up for time lost during the first two days.”
Chief test engineer Ian Morgan added: “Definitely the best of the three days. Basically, Seb hardly got out of the car and every time he came into the pits, we put something new on for him to try. Hopefully, the race team can see the results in the coming flyaway races.”
Astray at the bottom, more than three seconds behind the leader, were Honda tester Alexander Wurz and Williams race driver Nico Rosberg, unable to do much more with the car than his colleague Kazuki Nakajima on previous days.
Honda team principal Ross Brawn said: “We have had a good test this week achieving some positive results which will assist our efforts both this season and looking ahead to 2009.
“Along with aerodynamic and set-up work with the RA108, we completed an engine settings evaluation which should have benefits for the remaining four races.”
He said the test was also a critical stage in his team’s development of the KERS system.
“Although installed in a ‘mule’ car, the KERS system was fully functioning and very close to 2009 specification. Alex was able to give an invaluable input into the track behaviour of our KERS system and highlight several areas we need to focus on.
“A very valuable test and I am extremely pleased with the performance and the progress we have made with the system.”
Force India has not taken part in this test, while Ferrari has been completing testing at its Mugello racetrack.
Testing is now on hold until November 17-19, when the post-season round is due to start in Barcelona.
Day four test times:
- Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren: 1:18.992 (80 laps)
- Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber: 1:19.250 (98 laps)
- Lucas di Grassi, Renault: 1:19.280 (102 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso: 1:19.470 (93 laps)
- Sebastien Buemi, Red Bull: 1:20.005 (84 laps)
- Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:20.482 (111 laps)
- Alexander Wurz, Honda: 1:22.658 (51 laps)
- Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1:22.806 (102)