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Button finally regains No.1 by ending Jerez test on top

Defending F1 World Champion Jenson Button lives up to his No.1 billing in 2010 by leading the way on the final day of pre-season testing at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain for McLaren-Mercedes - ahead of Robert Kubica for Renault and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi
Defending F1 World Champion Jenson Button finally lived up to the No.1 adorning the nose of his new McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 on the fourth and final day of testing at Jerez de la Frontera today – as he concluded the second group session around the southern Spanish circuit on top of the order.

The British star wound up just over two tenths of a second quicker than Robert Kubica aboard the consistently impressive new Renault R30, with star 2009 debutant Kamui Kobayashi again catching the eye by lapping a close third-fastest for Sauber-Ferrari, with all three drivers completing more than 100 laps as – in distinct contrast to earlier in the week – the weather happily remained dry.

Force India F1's Vitantonio Liuzzi was next up half a second further back in fourth, as the Italian focussed his efforts on set-up work and getting a handle on the behaviour of the Mercedes-powered VJM03 with the heavier fuel loads necessitated by the refuelling ban coming into force in the top flight this year.

“Today was a really productive day for us,” the 28-year-old confirmed. “We covered 80 laps without any issues and got through our programme of test items for this week. Everything went pretty well – we worked on understanding the car's performance with different fuel loads and ran through some set-up changes, and the car is responding well.

“We still need to work on the tyres over the longer runs, and will continue this at the next test in Barcelona. Overall I think we can be very satisfied with how this test has gone, and can look forward to another good test next week.”

“A good day to finish the eight days of testing in Jerez,” concurred the ever-improving Silverstone-based squad's chief race engineer Dominic Harlow. “Tonio completed a broad programme of set-up tests, and we are satisfied with what was learned.

“We've made good progress this week, having tidied up some reliability issues and developed our set-up options with the VJM03. The team has begun its race preparation in earnest, and we will head to Barcelona to continue this work over the final test before the first race of 2010.”

Fifth-quickest at the close of play – for the second day in a row – was Nico Rosberg for Mercedes Grand Prix, four tenths down again on Liuzzi. Chassis set-up work over longer runs alongside a tyre comparison programme was the order of the day for the young German, and after some 130 laps the 24-year-old professed himself encouraged by continuing progress.

“We've had a very positive day today,” he affirmed, “and were able to complete a lot of valuable mileage, which is a great way to end the tests here at Jerez. We've made some good progress on our set-up comparisons, and learnt a lot which will be useful to prepare for the final test in Barcelona. Being able to get the laps in dry conditions has been very helpful for me to get used to the car and systems.”

Related Pictures

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19.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, MP4-25 - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
19.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, MP4-25 - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
19.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, MP4-25 - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
11.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
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Jackson - Unregistered

February 21, 2010 12:00 PM

I support neither Button or Hamilton, but I do find it interesting that after the first test at Valencia there was a lot of "Buttons had it!" talk from people on F1 forums and "experts" like Coulthard, Irvine and Jordan. Then after the second test, when Hamilton posted the best time, people on forums were going into overdrive that Hamilton had the best time, and yet more talk of "buttons had it!". Now after the third test, Button has posted the best time, and a time that was even faster than Hamilton's. We get no word from the "experts", and the forums are relatively silent except for a few people saying "It's only testing, low fuel, better weather... blah!"

Esteban - Unregistered

February 21, 2010 12:35 PM

It is only testing, and a lot of it was wet, but the very least that can be said is that, after 8 days at the same track, the driver/car at the top of the stack by more than 2 tenths probably means something just a tiny bit significant. This has all the makings of a classic season, 3 weeks and counting!

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