The penultimate pre-season test in Jerez came to a close today with Nick Heidfeld unleashing the full potential of the new BMW Sauber F1.09 to go quickest.
The Spanish test track was again hit hard by heavy rain in the morning while strong winds caused problems for the drivers in the afternoon, most notably Lewis Hamilton who lost control of his McLaren and crashed into a tyre barrier as a result of sudden gust.
“While the impact was only a mere 44km/h, the car went in rearwards, doing enough to dislodge the rear wing and lightly damage the car s rear-end,” McLaren explained in their testing notes.
“With insufficient time to effect repairs before the end of the session, the team opted to finish early in order to commence preparations for next week s four-day Barcelona test.”
Nick Heidfeld added a further 123 laps to BMW Sauber’s already impressive pre-season mileage tally and posted the fastest time of a day with a 1:20.052, over three tenths of a second ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
Lewis Hamilton ended the day third quickest inspite of his crash ahead of Mark Webber for Red Bull Racing and Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima.
Jarno Trulli, whose teammate Timo Glock paced quickest on the opening two days of the test, wound up last after damaging the front wing on his Toyota. The Italian completed just 38 laps.
“That was a short day for us,” said Trulli. “We lost the morning to the weather but in the afternoon we had a chance to try out the 2010 Bridgestone slick tyres. The conditions remained difficult because the wind was still strong.
“On one run I picked up some damage to the front wing after running over kerbs. Still, we made it through a number of runs and collected data for the future. As for this season, this test shows that things are going well for us so we can be confident.”
Now, all that stands between the teams and the season opening grand prix in Melbourne now is a final test session in Barcelona which starts on Monday.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:20.052 123
2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:20.404 112
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:21.272 58
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:22.219 47
5. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:22.226 54
6. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:23.119 38