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Spa day hamilton sets the pace at spafrancorchamps

В рубриках: Automobile | Автор: admin 06.11.2010

Spa Day 1: Hamilton Sets the Pace at Spa-francorchamps

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was the quickest man on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit last Tuesday, as this week’s three-day test got underway in Belgium. Hamilton clocked a best lap of 1m 46.613s to put his team on top of the timesheets.

The 22-year-old Briton was just over four-tenths of a second quicker than BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica. The Pole is using his new race car which use far more powerful and striking than the BMW 3 Series parts.

Hamilton concentrated on conducting aero tests for the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix, which will take place at the Spa circuit in September. The Briton driver also carried out several long runs and a few practice starts. Teammate Fernando Alonso will take over driving duties on Wednesday, although changeable weather conditions may limit the two-time world champion’s running.

Kubica, meanwhile, kicked off BMW Sauber’s intensive test programme. The Pole focused on set-up work and tried out a variety of different aerodynamic settings, while also evaluating new mechanical components. He will continue to test for the remaining two days of the session. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who completed 64 laps, was third with a full 0.8sec off Hamilton’s pace.

Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher and Renault tester Nelson Piquet Jr. completed the top-five. After Toyota’s disappointing showing at last weekend’s race at Silverstone, the Japanese team enjoyed a productive day evaluating tyres for the Belgian event. Schumacher covered 70 laps and will be back in the car on Wednesday. Californian Scott Speed did not drive, as teammate Tonio Liuzzi was responsible for driving duties for Toro Rosso and was posting the eighth-best time.

Today, triple Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais will climb aboard the STR2 for this third test with the Italian-based team. After a two-year absence, the Belgian Grand Prix returns to the calendar this season. The race will start on the 14th of September and to end on the 16th.

“It is good to have the chance to test here before the race because it enables us to have a preview of the new track layout,” explained Gerd Pfeiffer, Toyota’s test team manager.

“There have been changes made around the start-finish area of the lap and there is also a new tarmac around that area. This gives everyone a useful head start for the Belgian Grand Prix. We are also preparing for the coming races and we put some work on dampers and other systems today. We completed our programme without major issues so this has been a positive day,” Pfeiffer added.

Piquet Jr., the Renault tester, completed 52 laps in the R27. Although Piquet’s programme was slightly delayed by an electronic glitch in the late morning, the French team was pleased with progress. “We managed to get the best out of the afternoon and the results are very interesting,” explained Christian Silk, the squad’s chief test engineer. “We’re concentrating on preparing for the Belgian Grand Prix, but not only that as we’re also trying to progress in our overall development programme – we’re working flat out. Nelson said he was pretty happy with the car’s overall balance.”

The sixth fastest was David Coulthard, who concentrated on aero work in the Red Bull. Just over four-hundredths adrift of the Scot was James Rossiter, a Super Aguri tester. Toro Rosso’s Vitantonio Liuzzi took up eighth slot after a busy day evaluating tyres, set-up and downforce levels.

Williams driver Nico Rosberg finished ninth after covering 60 laps in the FW29. Just two-tenths down on the German was Honda tester Christian Klien, who concentrated on aero work and start simulations in the RA107. Completing the lineup was Spyker test driver Giedo van der Garde in the eleventh spot.

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