Lewis Hamilton set the pace on the second day of Formula 1 testing at Jerez as the young Briton returned to the cockpit for the first time since losing out on the F1 title during the season ending.

Taking over from Gary Paffett for the second day in Spain, Hamilton posted a quickest time of 1min 19.371secs which allowed him to head former McLaren man David Coulthard at the head of the pack, with the championship runner-up thrilled to be back behind the wheel.

"It was pretty cool to be back behind the wheel of my car again today, it has felt like a very long time since the Brazilian Grand Prix," Hamilton said after his first day at the wheel without driver aids. "I have missed my car! I have really kick started my preparations for the 2008 season today and there are only 101 days to go until Australia. I know the time is going to go really quickly, but I am feeling pretty impatient already!

"It was the first time I have driven the car without driver aids and it was good fun. It does feel quite different and of course there is some adapting to do in driving style, but in GP2 we didn't have driver aids, so I have some recent experience of it. We also did some work on aero and chassis developments for next year's car, it was a productive day and we will continue in the same way tomorrow."

For Coulthard, the second day of the test was a chance to roll back the years as he took to the track in a slick-shod RB3 as part of the Bridgestone evaluation ahead of the 2009 season. Working through a programme that included aero testing and chassis set-up work, his best time of the day was less than a tenth of a second behind Hamilton.

Newly-crowned champion Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest for Ferrari ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa as Ferrari saw both its race drivers hit the track while Pedro de la Rosa continued for a second day in the second McLaren and posted the fifth quickest time. The Spaniard spent the morning continuing yesterday's chassis programme before switching to running with the 2009 development Bridgestone Potenza slick tyres during the afternoon.

The lone Renault, in the hands of Nelson Piquet Jr completed the top six, with the main focus of the day being on testing the new slick tyres. Piquet's programme focused on data acquisition concerning the tyres' behaviour and the car's handling although a morning spin and subsequent delays meant his running was slightly shortened.

"It was frustrating to lose track time this morning, but the team did a great job to get the car ready again, and we got back on track before lunch and began the programme," he said. "I think we did a good job today, and the team managed to collect some important data."

Behind the Brazilian, Force India was able to celebrate a productive day of running, with Christian Klien posting the seventh quickest time while running on slick tyres. It marked the second time in the car for the Austrian since the change of ownership and he declared himself happy with how his day had gone.

"It was a bit more difficult than in Barcelona as it was harder to set up the car," he said. "We made some big set up changes that took a bit of time, but I still managed to do 86 laps and had some good experience on the slick tyres. We did a couple of laps on those, which went quite well, and overall I think the whole day was quite productive. We did quite a few changes and I just got more used to it and to the team and, all in all, I am very happy and think it was a positive test."

Sebastian Vettel was eighth for Toro Rosso as the German ran in a car fitted with the 2008 electronics and also in a 2007 car with the electronics switched off. Team-mate Sebastien Bourdais did the same and was twelfth quickest.

Vettel was followed on the times by the second Force India car with Giancarlo Fisichella having his second day of running with the team as he evaluates his options for the coming campaign. His programme was similar to that of team-mate Klien, although traffic on his quickest lap prevented him from lapping quicker than ninth.

"It was a better day," he said. "We made some good progress and went through the programme and had a step forward on the balance of the car. I felt more comfortable today and was quite happy with the grooved tyres, but when I went to the slicks there was a lot of understeer. Unfortunately on my best lap there was traffic, but overall a good day."

Robert Kubica hit the track for the first time this week to complete the top ten, with the Polish ace taking over from testing hopefuls Marko Asmer and Javier Villa while Timo Glock was eleventh on his second day of running with his new Toyota team.

Behind twelfth placed Bourdais, Nico Rosberg was 13th for Williams with team-mate Nico Hulkenberg three places further back as the German duo completed their programme before F3 Euroseries runner Hulkenberg hands over the Kazuki Nakajima tomorrow.

"Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg were on duty for the team today," test team manager Dickie Stanford said. "We've had a productive session, which saw the pair steadily work through the programme with no major problems. Hulkenberg has done a good job over the past two days and given us some useful feedback. Kazuki will return to the cockpit tomorrow to join Nico Rosberg for the remaining two days of testing."

Honda test driver Andi Zuber, running under Super Aguri guidance, was 14th ahead of Mark Webber, who was at the wheel of the car fitted with 2008 electronics but lost time with a number of problems. Behind Hulkenberg came Anthony Davidson in 17th, Rubens Barrichello, Toyota third driver Kamui Kobayashi and BMW's Nick Heidfeld.

Testing continues tomorrow.

To view the complete times, CLICK HERE.



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