McLaren-Mercedes test driver, Pedro de la Rosa topped the times at Jerez on Thursday, as the curtain fell on the final test of the 2007 season.

The Spaniard completed 68 laps in total, while focusing on aero development and set-up work for the three fly-away events in Japan, China and Brazil. His best time was a 1 minute 19.617 seconds - which was around four tenths off the marker he set on Wednesday [a 1m 19.267s], when he was also quickest.

Ferrari's Luca Badoer meanwhile was 'best of the rest' second overall in the F2007, albeit only a couple of hundredths slower. Luca managed 68 tours, while working on the development of some mechanical solutions and on electronics.

Marc Gene was also in action for the Scuderia, although not at Jerez, he conducted a shakedown at Fiorano of the cars that will be used at the Japanese Grand Prix next weekend, September 29-30.

Back at Jerez, Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber was third, four tenths off the top two in his Renault-powered RB3, although he did just 42 laps.

"Today the team worked on car set-up aimed at the final three races, as well as evaluating some aerodynamic modifications. Good progress was made throughout the morning, although mechanical problems brought the day to a premature end.

"However, looking at the three days overall, the RB3 racked up plenty of miles, bringing home plenty of data that should come in useful over the final trio of races," read a statement from the Milton Keynes-based outfit at the end of day 3.

BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Renault's Nelson Piquet Jr rounded out the top five, the latter completing the most laps of anyone runner, with a massive 120 on the board at the end of today's proceedings.

Piquet Jr spent the morning conducting control systems work for 2008, prior to completing aero and set-up testing in the afternoon.

"I really enjoyed my testing this week, and it was good to get three full days," stated the Brazilian. "I always aim to get the maximum from the experience every time I step into the car, and I think we did a good job this week. We did a lot of laps, and reached some interesting conclusions."

"This was an encouraging test," continued Renault's chief test engineer, Christian Silk. "We completed our programme without any major problems, and we did some good tests that are relevant for the final three races as well as next year.

"Nelson did a good job, made progress throughout the three days, and I think it was a good step for him to complete a full three-day test on his own."

Further down the order, Honda's Jenson Button was sixth, more than half a second up on Trulli: "As it was the last test of the season this week, we focused on preparing the car for the final three races," noted the Brit.

"Both Rubens [Barrichello] and I ran the car in different aero configurations to establish the best package and after a day and a half in the car, it was clear which direction we should be taking.

"It is always fun going to a new circuit so I am looking forward to the challenge of Fuji, although I am personally saddened at the absence of Suzuka this year as it is one of my favourite race tracks."

Trulli, who finished the programme off for Toyota, having taken over the TF107 from Ralf Schumacher, did 77 laps in total. The Italian made good progress in the morning to fine-tune the package but strong winds intervened early in the afternoon which limited set-up work.

"It was a good day without many interruptions," noted Trulli. "We worked on both aerodynamic and mechanical set-up in the morning, found some good solutions and had a productive test up until lunch time.

"But then the wind came up in the afternoon and we had to change the focus to items where consistent track conditions were not so important. But we have gathered enough information to be able to study the results and hopefully make a step for the final three races."

"This morning, Jarno carried on the programme Ralf had started yesterday and by midday had made strong progress and was happy with the car handling and balance," added Toyota's test team manager, Gerd Pfeiffer.

"But then, unfortunately, some strong winds blew up and that made conditions more unpredictable and we could no longer carry out meaningful comparison testing. We therefore switched emphasis for the final part of the afternoon. Overall we have had three solid days and collected a lot of data."

Of the remaining runners, Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel came in eighth, one tenth up on James Rossiter.

Rossiter, who was back testing for Honda, took over from Button in the afternoon, completing the planned test programme with further aero evaluations alongside suspension and general set-up work. He completed 32 laps in total.

"It was good to be back with the Honda Racing F1 Team and I am pleased to have contributed to the test programme this week," noted James. "I spent the afternoon acclimatising to the car and then working through a series of set-up and suspension evaluations to assist the team in their preparation for the final three races."

"In Jerez this week, we completed some fundamental aero evaluations to verify the correlation of our wind tunnel data with the track data," added Honda's engineering director, Jacky Eeckelaert.

"Both Rubens and Jenson tested different front wing and barge board configurations which will also assist us in developing our car package in 2008.

"This package has not been specifically developed around the RA107 but we are pleased with the initial feedback from the test in that the data correlation looks very good and we can therefore now put all our efforts into the development of the RA108.

"James Rossiter also tested new damper configurations this afternoon which gave positive results and will form part of the package for the forthcoming races."

Nico Rosberg was the slowest runner on the final day, his best a 1m 22.148s, which left him more than two seconds off the pace.

"Once again we concentrated on some more systems checks with Nico and encountered no major problems," reflected Williams test team manager, Dickie Stanford. "In the afternoon, we carried out some set-up comparisons for the next few races and started our development work for 2008."

There will be no testing now until after the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix on October 21.

Testing times (20 September) - Jerez:

1. Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1min 19.617secs 68 laps
2. Luca Badoer Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 19.655secs 68 laps
3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1min 20.067secs 42 laps
4. Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1min 20.184secs 94 laps
5. Nelson Piquet Jr Renault-Renault 1min 20.655secs 120 laps
6. Jenson Button Honda-Honda 1min 20.831secs 58 laps
7. Jarno TrulliToyota-Toyota 1min 21.521secs 77 laps
8. Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1min 21.525secs 82 laps
9. James Rossiter Honda-Honda 1min 21.653secs 39 laps
10. Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1min 22.148secs 87 laps

all times unofficial - courtesy McLaren

Track/weather conditions: Clear and dry: Track temperature, 46.1 ?C / Ambient temperature, 29.1?C.

 

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