Reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen set the pace at Jerez on Monday as the Scuderia resumed work on the new F2008 following the initial shakedown at the start of this month.

Kimi, who will be in action on all three-days this week, completed 59 laps in total - his best a 1 minute 19.845 seconds, which was around three tenths up on Felipe Massa, who was second in the sister car.

Both were focusing on the development of the new machine and while rain slightly hampered progress in the morning, the track improved as the day went on and it was possible to run with dry tyres in the afternoon.

Pedro de la Rosa meanwhile was 'best of the rest' for McLaren-Mercedes, four tenths further back in the MP4-23. The Spaniard did not leave the garage this morning, apart from for an installation lap first thing. However, once the track dried out he began focusing on general set-ups and long runs and in the end he did 53 tours. Heikki Kovalainen also did a similar amount of laps in the other MP4-23, although he was almost half a second slower.

Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest for Toro Rosso, sandwiched between the two McLaren men followed by his team-mate and former Champ Car star, Sebastien Bourdais and Williams' Nico Rosberg, who was focusing on 'system development' in an interim FW29B.

Further down the pack, Jarno Trulli came in eighth in the new Toyota TF108 and the Italian did 86 laps in total - the most of anyone runner. He had no problems all day and was delighted with the machines reliability, having conducted a shakedown on Sunday.

"Everything went smoothly today," he reflected. "We were competitive all day, in the wet and in the dry. We pushed our performance forward and also gained more experience with this new car, which is very important and we are understanding more and more how it works.

"The roll-out on Sunday was successful and we were able to complete a lot of laps without any trouble. The car seems to be running well and there are no major problems. I was happy to do so many laps with a new car today - it was a positive day."

Trulli's team-mate, Timo Glock was also on track for the Cologne-based outfit, but ran in a modified version of last year's car - the TF107, working on the new gearbox and standard ECU, as well as making some set-up comparisons. Soon after lunch he spun into the gravel at turn 8, damaging his front wing against the tyre barriers. But quick work by his crew saw him back in action after a short delay and he completed his programme with no further trouble, ending the day 13th overall.

"Today has been reasonable. I did quite a few laps in the TF107 and even though it is last year's car we can still get more information about the new gearbox and also how the car behaves without traction control, especially in the wet conditions this morning," he explained. "We ran through our programme with no reliability problems but unfortunately I had a spin early in the afternoon when I touched the damp kerb and lost control which was a bit frustrating."

Glock will now get his hands on the TF108 on Tuesday and is clearly looking forward to it: "I am excited by the chance to drive the new car tomorrow," he added. "The car has a totally new aerodynamic concept and so far everything has gone well with Jarno driving. Now I am really looking forward to getting the chance to drive the TF108 myself, it should be an interesting experience."

Of the rest, Renault's Nelson Piquet Jr and Red Bull Racing's David Coulthard rounded out the top ten, split by less than two tenths. Piquet's programme involved set-up work to improve the behaviour of the car, although the damp conditions hindered the team's efforts for the first part of the day. In addition, the team carried out engine-mapping work to gain further understanding of the new electronic regulations.

"I would have certainly liked the chance to get more time in the car today, but the conditions this morning were not ideal for either wet or dry tyres and so we had to wait for the weather to improve," said the Brazilian. "I'm still happy to get back on track for the first time this year though and get my preparations underway. I am aware that there are lots of things that need to be done, and there is a lot of hard work ahead, but that is why we are here."

"A good day for the team overall," added Renault's chief test engineer, Christian Silk. "The programme for the coming weeks means that the team will be very busy, but that is necessary as we prepare for the arrival of the new car.

"Nelson was back behind the wheel today for the first time as a race driver, but the wet weather this morning reduced his running. But, the conditions improved throughout the day, and he did a good job which enabled us to complete the programme that we had planned. We have a good basis on which to build for the remaining two days of the test."

Just outside the top ten was Force India F1 tester, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Williams' Kazuki Nakajima. Both only managed 40 or so laps, the small number a knock-on effect of the numerous red flag periods that punctuated the day. Indeed most drivers struggled to do more than around 50 tours.

Liuzzi was also hampered however, by minor hydraulic issues in the morning and the afternoon's running, which again limited the mileage he could achieve. His best lap was a 1m 23.035s, set in the afternoon.

Despite the issues though, he was still pretty happy: "We have improved from the last test we did here and the car seemed to respond better than last time, so that was already better," reflected the ex-STR driver. "It was quite a difficult day though as we had a few mechanical problems and we had to wait in the garage for a while, so we didn't put in too many laps, but the few laps we did I think were pretty positive. It was just unfortunate that the issues stopped us doing some more, but it is a three day test and we can look forward to some more development. We are going in the right direction and still have a lot of work to do."

"A reasonably productive day of testing, and good to shake out the cobwebs and start again in 2008," added FIF1's chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne. "As the morning was wet we did some running in both wet and dry conditions, but we had a couple of hydraulic issues throughout the day that limited the lap count. Overall though a reasonably useful day and it was good to start working with Tonio, who did a very good job for the team."

At the rear James Rossiter was 14th and slowest - he only did 10 laps for Super Aguri though due to a technical problem.

"It was a difficult first day in Jerez for the Super Aguri F1 team. During the morning the team's schedule was to evaluate cooling options for the interim car to find the optimum solution," read an end of day statement from the Oxfordshire-based outfit. "Unfortunately, an issue occurred and running was curtailed until the spare parts are available tomorrow to resume the planned testing programme."

Testing now continues on Tuesday.

 

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