Sebastien Buemi set the pace for the second successive day at Portimao as wet weather conditions continued to plague the opening Formula One test of the 2009 campaign.
Continuing to be the only man running a 2008-spec machine, Buemi posted a quickest time of 1min 34.429secs for Toro Rosso, which put him three seconds clear of his nearest rival.
The poor conditions, with rain and hail hitting the Algarve venue, meant teams were limited in the work they could carry out on track, with Buemi working through a programme focused on fine-tuning electronic systems and gearbox settings on the car. However, with conditions deteriorating, the team called an end to its time on track an hour early – although the weather forecast suggests drier conditions for day three.
Buemi was followed on the times by McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa, who continued to put more mileage on the new MP4-24. On a day when times were once again spread out, the Spaniard was nearly five seconds clear of third placed Jarno Trulli, who took over testing duties for Toyota from test driver Kamui Kobayashi.
"It is very hard to give my first impressions of the new car because the track conditions today were not very good at all," the Italian admitted. "It was very wet and there was no grip. It is a pity that I could not do more laps but there was little to gain considering the conditions. Hopefully the weather improves for Timo later in the week and we can get a better idea of the characteristics of the new car."
Nelson Piquet was fourth for Renault, although the weather conspired to make it a frustrating day for the Brazilian with the new R29. He only completed nine laps over the course of the day to run some system checks on the new car, with the team aiming to complete more meaningful work on Wednesday when Fernando Alonso takes to the track.
“It has been quite a frustrating day and the weather has made things very difficult,” chief test engineer Christian Silk said. “As it's a new car we don't want to risk it by doing lots of wet weather running and so we've done limited mileage today. The rain also makes it difficult to learn very much about the car, but all the teams here have the same problem and so in that sense we are all in the same position. We are hoping for a better forecast tomorrow so we can get on and do some proper running.”
Nico Rosberg completed the five runners on track for Williams.
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