Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vettel on Fire

The German, who has left Toro Rosso in favour of Red Bull, put the RB4 through its pace, clocking a 1min 19.751secs lap around the Circuit de Catalunya.

That put him just over a quarter of a second ahead of Monday's pace-setter Takuma Sato. The Japanese driver, who is hoping to land a Toro Rosso race-seat for next year's championship, posted a 1:20.017 to beat his rivals for the drive, Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastien Buemi.

It was an impressive showing from Toro Rosso, although their cars were fitted out to the 2008 specifications and not next year's.

Fifth place went to McLaren test driver Gary Paffett, who finished just under half a second off Vettel's pace as he tried out the Woking outfit's new Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS).

Robert Kubica in the rather different-looking interim BMW, which features a long, flat front wing and a short, high back wing, was sixth quickest ahead of Nico Rosberg. Like Kubica he was also driving a interim car, fitted out to next year's aero specs.

Jenson Button completed the top eight for Honda.

Pedro de la Rosa, driving the Force India for the first time, was the slowest driver of the day.

Although Force India have both Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil on the books, the team is believed to be set to drop one of them to make way for McLaren test driver de la Rosa as part of the team's deal with the Woking outfit.

Earlier this month Force India agreed a technical-support deal with McLaren that will see the championship-winning team providing the backmarker outfit with engines, gearboxes and the new KERS system.

In return Force India team boss Vijay Mallya has conceded that McLaren may play a role in the final decision regarding his 2009 driver line-up.

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