Vettel finishes 2008 on a high

sebbastian vettel GPS teamredbullIn what was something of a fitting conclusion to his successful 2008 campaign, Italian GP winner and Red Bull star Sebastian Vettel topped the time sheets on the final day of testing in Jerez.

Sebastien Buemi in the sister Red Bull had dominated proceedings on the first two days of running but was unable to match Vettel’s 1:16.617 which catapulted the German to P1.

“We’ve had pretty smooth running at this test and have completed a lot of mileage before the end of the year,” said Vettel afterwards.

“I think we’ve done everything we could here, learning about the tyres and next year’s regulations and hopefully we will start next year with a car strong enough to challenge the big boys.”

Robert Kubica lapped third quickest, over two seconds slower than Buemi. The BMW Sauber driver suffered a mechanical failure with his KERS-fitted F1.08 and was forced to abandon the development work that the team had planned for the device in the afternoon.

Christian Klien in the sister BMW car was able to at least evaluate alternative versions of the team’s energy-recovery device.

“We made good progress today,” Klien said. “We still have a lot of work to do on the KERS system. But the promising test results show we are moving in the right direction.”

“Unlike last week when the weather was quite bad, I’ve covered a lot of mileage with the car, which was good for me as it’s allowed me to get used to all the changes,” said Nakajima after focussing on developing Williams’ ’09 aero package as well as evaluating the slick tyres.

“In terms of what we’ve been testing, we’ve worked on set-up and the aero package for next year, but we mainly concentrated on the slick tyres this week. It is quite interesting to drive on slicks.”

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:16.617 107
2. Sebastien Buemi Red Bull Racing 1:16.988 92
3. Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:19.013 100
4. Christian Klien BMW Sauber 1:19.066 38
5. Kazuki Nakajima Williams 1:19.341 131
All timing unofficial

With thanks to autosport.com for timings and key facts