Hamilton tops day 1 of testing at Barcelona

Lewis Hamilton has set the pace, finishing top of the timesheets at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. However rivals Ferrari did not run therefore it came as little to surprise to many that the young Briton took the top spot.

Hamilton finished a full six tenths of a second ahead of ex-team-mate Fernando Alonso who, despite causing a red flag near the end of the day, showed that Renault s new R28 has a lot of potential. The BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica finished in third, indicating that the team have managed to get the balance issues that affected them at earlier tests under control.

The biggest surprise of the day came from Giancarlo Fisichella who brought the Force India car home in fourth place.

McLaren test driver Gary Paffett had some fun in the McLaren, causing three red flags during the day. The first flag was caused when he stopped on-track, and the latter two flags were caused after he span out.

Nelson Piquet had a solid test, finishing in sixth place, although the car seems a little temperamental at the moment he stopped twice on track with mechanical problems. Honda s new car appears to be little improvement on last season s disappointment with Barrichello and Wurz bringing up the rear of the field.

Unofficial times for Day 1 Testing in Barcelona (1 February 2008)

Pos  Driver        Team                   Time      Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes       1:22.263   82
 2.  Alonso        Renault                1:22.889   61
 3.  Kubica        BMW-Sauber             1:22.983   65
 4.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari    1:23.015   98
 5.  Heidfeld      BMW-Sauber             1:23.270   52
 6.  Paffett       McLaren-Mercedes       1:23.349   45
 7.  Piquet        Renault                1:23.367   44
 8.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:23.387   89
 9.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota        1:23.453   12
10.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault       1:23.491   60
11.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault       1:23.547   52
12.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:23.836   54
13.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota        1:23.955   35
14.  Barrichello   Honda                  1:24.125   53
15.  Wurz          Honda                  1:26.975   26