Current championship leader, Lewis Hamilton set the pace on day two at Jerez on Wednesday, as the Formula 1 teams present once again experienced sweltering conditions at the Spanish track.

The Brit completed 90 laps in total in his McLaren-Mercedes MP4-22 and, like team-mate, Pedro de la Rosa on Tuesday, was easily quickest, his best a 1 minute 19.670 seconds, just under a second up on Ralf Schumacher, who was next fastest.

Hamilton's programme focused on preparations for next week's race at the Hungaroring, primarily doing set-up and aero work and the hot and dusty conditions were similar to that which should be experienced at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hamilton will hand the car back to de la Rosa for the final day on Thursday.

Ralf meanwhile notched up around 73 laps for Toyota. He practised a different start procedure, carried out work on set-up and suspension and tested aero parts in preparation for Hungary.

"Today went quite well, we went through all the items we had planned, including plenty of set-up work. We also did lots of practice starts because that is the area that we most need to improve," explained Ralf. "That went well and I'm quite happy with our progress.

"In the afternoon I did some long runs for further set-up comparisons and we completed our programme without problems. We're working hard to improve the package and we hope that can continue.

"Our performance has clearly been stronger at recent races, including even last weekend's difficult European Grand Prix. We missed out on a result there but now we will push for a better return next week in Hungary."

Toyota test team manger, Gerd Pfeiffer meanwhile also felt that it was another 'useful' day: "This morning we went through some different set-ups and suspension settings," he continued. "Ralf also carried out some aero comparisons and practised starts. We are trying out a different procedure in order to improve our performance off the line and this test gives the race drivers the chance to learn about that. We will have to wait for race conditions to quantify its success but the main aim is to be more consistent.

"We also did some brake work and Ralf put in some long runs in the afternoon for further set-up comparisons. Tomorrow Jarno [Trulli] will take over for the last day of the test."

Further down the order, Kazuki Nakajima was once again third for Williams. He ended the day five hundredths off Ralf Schumacher, having managed 83 tours.

"We carried on with our general set-up and tyre work preparations ready for Hungary today," said Williams test team manager, Dickie Stanford. "We lost about two hours due to a scheduled engine change, but still managed to complete a considerable number of laps. Running was barely hindered; there were just two red flags in the whole session.

"Tomorrow will be our last day at Jerez, for which Alex [Wurz] will take over from Kazuki to finish our programme."

Robert Kubica came in fourth for BMW Sauber, the Swiss-based outfit opting to run for just two days this week, having sat out day 1. The Pole apparently had a 'very successful day' and completed the schedule programme, which included testing new aero parts for the forthcoming races, as well as working on set-up and new suspension components.

Kubica will continue with a similar programme tomorrow, which will include more set-up work for Hungary and development work on systems.

Renault's Heikki Kovalainen rounded out the top five, a tenth slower than Kubica. The Finn tested new aerodynamic components as part of the team's on-going performance development and enjoyed a trouble-free day. He was able to complete over 450 kilometres without any technical problems.

"We had a good day of work today, testing the latest aerodynamic developments for the car," said Heikki. "We did a lot of laps, completed a lot of tests and got a lot of data. The job now is to work through that and analyse it, in order to continue making progress ahead of the race in Hungary. We are moving forward all the time, and I think we can be confident of a strong performance there."

"We planned a more substantial programme for Heikki today, in order to pursue our performance development programme. After a short set-up programme this morning, Heikki evaluated a number of new aerodynamic components in preparation for the upcoming races. As we expect at this time of the year, the day was trouble-free from a mechanical point of view and we succeeded in collecting a lot of useful data," added Renault's chief test engineer, Christian Silk.

Of the rest Mark Webber came in sixth - the Aussie's RB3 having ran reliably all day. Webber focused mainly on aerodynamics and testing some mechanical set up changes. The team also carried out some 2008 regulation work. Sebastien Buemi will be back in the driving seat tomorrow for Red Bull.

Honda's James Rossiter and Rubens Barrichello were the only other runners on track and the 'A' team was once again outpaced by the 'B' team, Super Aguri.

On the agenda for Rossiter today was a chassis set-up programme alongside a Bridgestone tyre test in the morning, followed by the running and evaluation of 2008 control systems and associated set-up options in the searing heat of the afternoon.

Testing is now due to conclude at Jerez on Thursday.

Testing times (25 July) - Jerez:

1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1min 19.670secs 90 laps
2. Ralf Schumacher Toyota-Toyota 1min 20.540secs 73 laps
3. Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1min 20.588secs 83 laps
4. Robert Kubica BMW Sauber-BMW 1min 20.709secs 104 laps
5. Heikki Kovalainen Renault-Renault 1min 20.881secs 104 laps
6. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1min 21.071secs 75 laps
7. James Rossiter Super Aguri-Honda 1min 21.315secs 94 laps
8. Rubens Barrichello Honda-Honda 1min 21.444secs 79 laps

all times unofficial - courtesy McLaren

Track/weather conditions: Hot and Sunny: Track temperature, high of 60.6?C / Ambient temperature, high of 35.6?C.

 

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