Wednesday round-up

David Coulthard put in some great laps to top the table of times at Wednesday’s testing sessions in Barcelona. His best time of 1:21.855 was a tenth faster than the second placed man, Ferrari driver Felipe Massa. Coulthard’s teammate Mark Webber was not having such a great day due to drivetrain problems. Coulthard managed 116 laps, with Webber finishing a paltry 61 laps, and only managing to finish the day in 11th place. However, Red Bull were satisfied overall with their tests.

Webber wasn’t the only one with technical problems – Franck Montagny had problems with his Toyota’s gearbox late in the morning and had to have an engine change over lunch. His teammate Ralf Schumacher had better luck and was pleased with the way the new shift gearbox was working for him.

Meanwhile, Alonso took a break to do a radio interview. Alonso commented that he thought Renault looked good, but not as good as McLaren. “One day they look strong, the next not so strong,” he said. “But no matter what, they are a rival to watch for.” When asked which team he would like to see win the title if McLaren fail to do so, Alonso answered “Renault, of course!”. He also commented that he thought Raikkonen was a better driver than either Fisichella or Kovalainen. Alonso also dismissed claims that he would retire if he won a third title this year. “I think three is a perfect number of titles,” he explained. “But I also hope that my third one will not be my last. I am not going to retire because I have a contract with McLaren.”

As if to back up Alonso’s thoughts, Fisichella has also been speaking out. He believes his Renault team are making good progress however they haven’t got the best package quite yet. “The reliability is good,” Fisichella explained. “We need a bit more speed, but we are moving in the right direction. It is difficuly to find a good balance because the grip of the tyres is quite low. We still have work to do, but we are moving in the right direction.”

When asked about his biggest rivals, Fisichella said “I think Ferrari looks very good on the long runs. BMW look good, just like McLaren. I expect to see McLaren much quicker than they were last year.

“In Barcelona, McLaren looked similar to our pace; Ferrari seems very good on race distance, especially in the first laps. I’m sure they did a good job and they have good data from the past, even if the tyre is different. It’s Bridgestone – so it’s more or less the same. I think Ferrari have an advantage. I think we’re a little bit down on Ferrari, but we have great potential.”

Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:21.855
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:21.958
3. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:21.965
4. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:22.103
5. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:22.271
6. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:22.292
7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:22.363
8. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:22.446
9. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:22.758
10. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:22.783
11. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:22.834
12. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:23.257
13. Alexander Wurz, Williams, 1:23.271
14. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:23.278
15. Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, 1:23.571
16. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:23.789
17. Christijan Albers, Spyker, 1:23.947
18. Takuma Sato, Super Aguri, 1:24.568
19. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso, 1:26.296