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Kimi Raikkonen dominated proceedings on the second day of testing at Sepang, the World Championship leader finishing almost half-a-second ahead of his nearest rival, Alexander Wurz in the ever improving Williams, and almost a second up on yesterday's best time (Kubica).
The Finn continued to work on finding the best set up for the F2007, also carrying out electronics and aerodynamics testing. Tomorrow, Felipe Massa will be at the wheel of the sole F2007.
Williams continues to show strong pace, and indeed reliability, with Wurz completing the second highest mileage of the day.
"Another hot and sticky but very productive day," Test Team Manager, Tim Newton. "Alex did a good job and managed to complete a race distance including pit stops by lunchtime. This afternoon we did some shorter runs focused on set-up work which also proved very productive. Nico will pick up on the driving duties for tomorrow’s final day."
Third quickest was David Coulthard in the Red Bull, which either means that Dietrich Mateschitz is in town (likely), DC is about to enter contract negotiations for 2008 (also likely) or the RB3 has suddenly found some previously undiscovered pace (unlikely).
Fourth quickest was Ralf Schumacher in the Toyota, replacing test driver Franck Montagny who was on duty yesterday. The German tried out different set-ups in the search for a perfect answer to Sepang's sweeping fast corners and tight hairpins.
Throughout the day the team repeated the reliability shown over the Australian Grand Prix weekend and despite a spin in the middle of the afternoon Schumacher enjoyed a largely trouble-free day, completing his programme and more than a race distance. The German will be back in action tomorrow.
"Today was reasonable," said Schumacher, "we didn't have any problems with the car which is positive. It gets very hot in the car but I have done my training to be ready for this so I can cope.
"For me it was a useful session and it should help us for the Grand Prix here next weekend," he3 continued. "We worked on different set-ups, seeing how the car and tyres work in different conditions and everything went well. We have a bit of work to do after the first race of the season to get the performance we expect but so far the team is making good progress and I hope that is the case tomorrow as well."
"We had a productive day today," added Gerd Pfeiffer, "trying out various set-ups and making tyre comparisons for the race here at Sepang next weekend. It was very positive that we completed the day without any mechanical problems despite the heat. That bodes well for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
"The only small delay came when Ralf spun but there was no damage done so that did not cost much time. After completing so many laps, we have a lot of information about how the car handles on this track with each different type of tyre. Now we expect to continue to make positive progress tomorrow on the final test day."
Having set the pace on Tuesday, today Kubica was relegated to fifth fastest. However,, the fact that he completed the most laps (111), and was only 0.5s off Raikkonen's pace, but ahead of McLaren and Renault, should give BMW great optimism for next week and beyond.
Over the course of the day the Pole did work on his race set-up for the Malaysian GP and continued an evaluation of the 'Option' and 'Prime' Bridgestone Potenza tyre specification. He also did further checks on the cooling systems and electronical settings in addition to carrying out start simulations. Tomorrow, Nick Heidfeld is on duty.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton took to the Sepang track for the first time today, as the Woking outfit continued with its programme. Hamilton continued with the work Pedro de la Rosa began on Tuesday, including tyre comparison work, and set-ups for next week's race. This was alongside familiarising himself with the track.
Super Aguri was one of three teams with two drivers on duty - though under the new testing agreement each team is restricted to one car. Takuma Sato was joined by Anthony Davidson, who has fully recovered from the (slight) back injury incurred in Melbourne.
In the morning Sato, who finished the day seventh quickest, ahead of both Honda and Renault, completed his programme with a number of long runs to evaluate the durability and degradation of the Bridgestone Potenza tyres for next week’s race. In the afternoon, Davidson took over, running through a number of set-up changes. The Englishman will conclude the test for the Japanese team on Thursday.
At Honda, Rubens Barrichello was joined by Jenson Button as the Brackley-based outfit continues to try out new components in a bid to close the gap to the front runners. Between them, the Honda duo managed 60 laps, both drivers over 1.3s off the pace.
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