Rain hampers testing, Trulli quickest

Jarno Trulli went quickest on the final day of testing at Paul Ricard as torrential rain wrecked havoc with the teams testing programmes.

The Italian lapped the rain-soaked Le Castelett circuit in 1m 31.360 using both the wet and extreme wet Bridgestone tyres before another deluge at lunchtime rendered testing impossible and left the Toyota driver on top of the timing sheets.

The test track was switched to its longer 1EV2-SC configuration on the final day to simulate the lower downforce characteristics of Montreal. However the rain meant that the teams had very little mileage with which to prepare for the Canadian Grand Prix.
“It was frustrating that the rain came early in the day and meant that we could not collect any dry data,” bemoaned the 33-year-old. “You run less downforce in Montreal compared to Monaco so the car set-up is very different and we had planned a lot of work on this.”

Nelson Piquet who ended the session second quickest, just under three tenths of a second slower than Trulli, was similarly hampered by the conditions.

“Quite a frustrating day really,” reflected the Renault driver, “there was no point in doing lots of miles in the wet conditions.” “Fortunately we did a lot of laps yesterday and got most of our work done because we knew that it was likely to be wet today. So a good week overall and I think we are well prepared for Monaco next week.”

Pedro de la Rosa took over testing duties at McLaren, the Spaniard lapping third quickest ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the new Toro Rosso STR3.

Felipe Massa was fifth quickest with Ferrari electing to pack up after just 19 laps of running. The Scuderia will give the F2008 a pre-Monaco shakedown at their Fiorano test track at Marenello.

Nick Heidfeld, who ended the day sixth fastest, brought out the red flag just before the lunch brake after spinning at Turn 7 and damaging his rear suspension.

Red Bull Racing s reserve driver Sebastian Buemi lapped seventh quickest ahead of the two Force India drivers and Jenson Button who split the pairing.

“Today has not proved to be as successful due to the rain showers which limited our running to a few dry laps this morning,” commented Button afterwards.

Adrian Sutil caused the second red flag of the day after he spun in the final half hour of the session and damaged his nose cone.

 1.  Trulli        Toyota               (B)  1:31.360   26
 2.  Piquet        Renault              (B)  1:31.634   60
 3.  de la Rosa    McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:32.143   53
 4.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:32.480   49
 5.  Massa         Ferrari              (B)  1:33.246   19 
 6.  Heidfeld      BMW-Sauber           (B)  1:33.371   30
 7.  Buemi         Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:34.064   16
 8.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari  (B)  1:34.071   31
 9.  Button        Honda                (B)  1:36.501   19
10.  Sutil         Force India-Ferrari  (B)  1:43.877   13
11.  Hulkenberg    Williams             (B)  1:44.741   35