Jenson Button puts new BrawnGP at the top of the day's - and the week's - timesheets

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    Jenson Button puts new BrawnGP at the top of the day's - and the week's - timesheets

    Post by Mike on 11th March 2009, 12:17

    Button dominates timesheets for BrawnGP

    Brawn GP continued to startle the Formula One world on the third day of the Barcelona test, as Jenson Button, at the wheel of the Mercedes-powered BGP001 set the fastest time of any 2009 specification car this afternoon.

    While clearly a low fuel lap, the 1:19.127 lap – a clear second ahead of next best man Felipe Massa in the Ferrari F60 – followed a morning spent simulating race distance stints, during which rivals observed some very impressive times from the new car. Ross Brawn commented that the car is the result of fifteen months work, as the team formerly known as Honda were working towards this year having found the 2008 challenger to be somewhat less than capable.

    With 124 laps under his belt, Button sits second only to Sebastien Buemi, the young Swiss getting good mileage in the new STR4, but he was quicker than only one car – the McLaren MP4-24 of world champion Lewis Hamilton.

    McLaren are not having a good time with the car, and have seemingly been testing many different aerodynamic parts while not setting the world alight in terms of speed. Rumours abound of poor rear end grip and parts not reacting as they are meant to, while the curious floor arrangement has become something of intrigue to other teams. It is difficult to say whether there is a fundamental problem with the car or whether, as Ron Dennis was keen to point out, all of this is simply part and parcel of McLarens planned testing programme.

    Second place in the timesheets went to Felipe Massa in the F60, with a time of 1:20.168 set during a three lap stint, and third to Robert Kubica, the Pole just a tenth shy in the BMW F1.09.

    Optimism at BMW is matched by that at Toyota, a team all smiles at the moment as Timo Glock confirmed the promise of the TF109 with a lap just shy of the BMW, with the Renault R29 – local hero Fernando Alonso at the wheel – four tenths slower than the German in the red and white car.

    Two seconds off the pace of the remarkable Brawn comes Sebastian Vettel, the young German continuing to get to grips with the Red Bull RB5, while Nico Rosberg, in the Williams FW31, was next, ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella who continued to make progress in the Force India VJM02.

    Mercedes will no doubt be heartened that their engine topped the time sheets, but it remains to be seen just how deep the problems at McLaren are. At the other end of the spectrum, talk of mega-light publicity laps by the Brackley boys, who are in need of sponsorship after all, are likely to be dismissed by Ross Brawn.

    Tomorrow is the last day of running before Melbourne for Ferrari, Toyota and BMW – all of whom have used their available time running in Bahrain – but McLaren, notably, have four days left at Jerez before loading on the plane for Australia. It will be interesting to watch the progress next week.



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