Having enjoyed a one-two on the opening day of Formula 1's second test of the winter at Jerez de la Frontera, Scuderia Toro Rosso made it a one-two-three on day two, as S?bastien Buemi extended his advantage over namesake S?bastien Bourdais and Takuma Sato joined the fray.

Buemi is viewed as practically a shoe-in for one of the two available drives at the Red Bull 'junior' concern in 2009, and as on the first day did his cause no harm at all by lopping a further seven tenths of a second off his best marker from Tuesday over the course of a marathon 128 laps of the southern Spanish circuit, ending up more than half a second clear of any of his rivals.

Taking advantage of a damp surface early on from overnight rain, the young Swiss ace got his first experience of this year's intermediate rubber as he helped STR to complete its assessment of the 2010 Bridgestone rain tyres, before switching over to slicks later on and trying out a number of set-up options.

The 20-year-old also conducted a tyre comparison between the 'soft' and 'medium' compounds on offer, the latter performing consistently on this high-wear track. Unfortunately, the GP2 Series graduate's day ended a little ahead of schedule after a trip across a kerb caused slight damage to the car.

2008 incumbent Bourdais and out-of-work Super Aguri F1 refugee Sato shared the cockpit of the other STR3 during the day as they battle it out for what is likely to be the second seat at the small Faenza-based squad in 2009.

Due to the early inclement conditions, Bourdais remained in the car longer than had been anticipated, meaning Sato only got out for the final 90 minutes in the afternoon. However, the Japanese star was soon on the pace, carrying out performance and long-run testing and assessing various set-up options on the 2009 slick tyres as he wound up seven hundredths of a second quicker than Bourdais, despite completing fewer than half of the total laps that the Frenchman had done. Sato and Buemi will remain in the cars for the third and final day of testing.

Fourth and sixth on the end-of-day timesheets were the two McLaren-Mercedes' of test driver Pedro de la Rosa and Hungarian Grand Prix winner Heikki Kovalainen. The Spaniard focussed on the interim MP4-23A, concentrating his efforts on aerodynamic work as the Woking-based concern made its first attempt at running a 2009-configuration nose, reporting positive results.

The Finn, for his part, got his first taste of slick tyres, low downforce and KERS as he began his 2009 testing programme in the specially-equipped MP4-23K. The 27-year-old nonetheless proved to be on the pace immediately, adapting very well to the new regulations and able to provide good feedback to the engineers.

In-between the two Silver Arrows and three tenths of a second faster than countryman Kovalainen was 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen in the first of the Ferraris. The 17-time grand prix-winner did not venture out on-track in the morning, but when he did hit the circuit he continued the engine endurance programme he had begun the previous day and investigated more set-ups on the F2008 - fitted with slick tyres and reduced aerodynamic downforce - as well as experimenting with a few new components aimed at next season.

Team-mate and 2008 vice-champion Felipe Massa only arrived at Jerez direct from his homeland of Brazil mid-afternoon, and covered 27 laps before the close of play to wind up tenth on the list. Both drivers will return for day three.

"We haven't done many kilometres over these two days," Raikkonen confessed, "because the conditions haven't really been good. We're mainly trying to understand how the slicks work and we're testing some solutions the car will use in the upcoming season.

"It's useless to speculate about what will be in the future. Too many things are different on the cars on the track. To get a precise idea we have to wait until we all have the new cars."

On his return to the cockpit of Renault's R28 for the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos at the beginning of last month, Fernando Alonso continued the Enstone-based outfit's technical programme, sampling slick tyres with a car set up to best simulate 2009 settings and overcoming a spin along the way to place seventh.

"It was a good day and I'm happy to be back in the car," the Spaniard mused. "Unfortunately I damaged the car a little bit in the morning and so we lost some running, but the team did a good job to repair it quickly and I was able to run almost all of the afternoon without any problems.

"It was nice to run on the slick tyres as they are more grippy, but when you lose downforce from the car they don't feel massively different to grooved tyres."

"It's good for Fernando to be back in the car and to get some experience on the 2009 tyres," added the R?gie's chief test engineer Christian Silk. "Fernando learnt a lot about the tyres and the engineers learnt a lot from his feedback and setting the car up with him.

"On the technical side we continued with a similar programme to yesterday, putting mileage on the car, and managed to achieve the main objectives for the day."

Nico Rosberg lapped eighth-quickest on his return to action for Williams-Toyota, four tenths shy of Alonso, as the young German looked at set-up work and slick tyre development in preparation for 2009.

"Fortunately, it stayed dry all day today which allowed us to clock up the mileage with Nico while continuing our '09 development and set-up programme," affirmed the Grove-based concern's test team manager Dickie Stanford. "The FW30B modified chassis covered 540 kilometres without encountering any problems, and Nico will finish testing the scheduled items tomorrow on the final day of this week's test."

BMW-Sauber, finally, brought up the order with Nick Heidfeld (ninth) and Robert Kubica (eleventh) in attendance, both behind the wheel of interim machinery featuring a modified 2008 chassis with some bodywork complying with the 2009 regulations.

Like McLaren counterpart Kovalainen, Kubica tried out KERS for the first time, but the Pole saw his day come to a premature end when his car stopped halfway through testing with a mechanical problem. As a result of this, the chassis was slightly damaged and the necessary repairs took up the rest of the day.

Heidfeld, meanwhile, concentrated on development work on the F1.08B-03 fitted with the conventional engine. He worked on the set-up of the car, collecting more data on the slick tyres as well as the revised bodywork.

"It was a productive day", the experienced German remarked. "With the weather being much better, we were able to catch up on some of the development time we lost yesterday. My 87 laps today with a problem-free car gave us the opportunity to try a number of different options."

To see the testing times in full, click here


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