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F1: Paul Ricard testing report

McLaren have had some good news about their prospects for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton put in the fastest lap on the first day at a test circuit set up to replicate the challenges of the streets of Monaco.

The F1 teams will be heading to the Principality fresh from a three-day testing stint at the specialised F1 test track Circuit Paul Ricard in the nearby south of France.


View a map of Circuit Paul Ricard here >>

On day one, while teams were trying out high-downforce configurations suitable for Monaco, Lewis Hamilton put in a fastest lap time of 1:05.600.

According to the team, he was working on set-up development, tyre testing and evaluation of the aero package.

But Kimi Raikkonen proved that Ferrari will be a powerful threat to McLaren’s chances, coming second with a fastest lap time of 1:06.098.

BMW’s Robert Kubica was third on 1:06.177 and Red Bull’s Mark Webber fourth on 1:06.348. Alexander Wurz was seventh for Honda.

On day two, with the track still configured to mimic conditions in Monte Carlo, Ferrari had their revenge.

Raikkonen posted a fastest lap of 1:05.381. But fellow Finn Kovalainen was less than a tenth of a second behind him for McLaren.

Once again both BMW and Red Bull did well with Robert Kubica on 1:05.905 and David Coulthard on 1:06.001 despite experiencing technical problems. And Jenson Button was fifth for Honda on 1:06.091.

On day three the circuit set-up was changed to mimic the faster track and low-downforce conditions at Montreal, Canada, the sport’s next stop after Monaco.

The surprise victor in showery conditions that stopped some teams testing past lunchtime was Toyota’s Jarno Trulli with a fastest time of 1:31.360. Just behind him was Renault’s Nelson A Piquet on 1:31.634.

Pedro de la Rosa was third for McLaren while Ferrari’s Felipe Massa came a surprise fifth behind Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel.

Nick Heidfeld was sixth for BMW while Sebastian Buemi was seventh for Red Bull. Jenson Button for Honda was ninth.


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