Sebastien Buemi stayed at the top of the timesheets in Jerez, again outpacing his Toro Rosso teammate Takuma Sato, as testing concluded at the Spanish track.
While Toro Rosso’s dominance of the Jerez test is unlikely to be a real gauge of the squad’s performance relative to the other teams, Buemi’s consistent advantage over his teammates Takuma Sato and Sebastien Bourdais puts him in pole position for one of the two race seats up for grabs in 2009.
Buemi pipped Sato to the top spot by just over a quarter of a second as both drivers focussed on performance testing in the morning, when the track was at its best, before switching to long runs in the afternoon.
“I am pleased with the way these three days of testing have gone,â€ said Buemi, the only Toro Rosso driver to take to the track on all three days.
“We have got through a lot of work, with a minimum of interruptions. Setting up the car to work with slick tyres and with reduced downforce was very interesting and it was also good for me to try the rain tyres on the first day. We have learnt a lot and acquired plenty of data which should be useful for the team for next season.â€
McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen switched to aerodynamic testing using the MP4-23A having spent most of yesterday running the KERS-fitted car. He lapped third quickest today ahead of Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.
Renault’s Fernando Alonso was sixth quickest having spent the day working on tyre development and adjusting to slick 2009 specification tyres.
“It was a good day as we continued to add miles to the car and to understand the tyres,” said the double world champion. “We maximised the time on the track and managed to do a lot of laps as well as some basic-set-up work.
“I have already been doing a lot of physical work to get ready for next year and so spending a couple of days in the car this week was another important part of my preparation and has helped me get back up to speed. I’m now looking forward to testing the new car in January.”
Williams’ Nico Rosberg was seventh fastest ahead of Pedro de la Rosa in the KERS-fitted McLaren and the BMW Sauber pairing of Robert Kubica and Christian Klien.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:17.258 139 2. Sato Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:17.520 119 3. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:18.049 96 4. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:18.782 82 5. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:19.050 72 6. Alonso Renault (B) 1:19.319 124 7. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:19.388 130 8. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:19.499 47 9. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:19.559 134 10. Klien BMW-Sauber (B) 1:19.738 101