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Hamilton quickest on test track
December 06, 2007 08:49 IST
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton [Images] set the pace on Wednesday in his first Formula One test since the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix in October.
The 22-year-old Briton lapped the Jerez circuit in southern Spain with a best time of 1:19.371, ahead of compatriot David Coulthard in a Red Bull and Ferrari's [Images] newly-wed Brazilian Felipe Massa [Images].
Ferrari's new champion Kimi Raikkonen [Images] was fourth on the timesheets.
Coulthard was one of several drivers trying out experimental slick tyres for 2009.
"It was pretty cool to be back behind the wheel of my car again," said Hamilton, who missed out on becoming the sport's youngest champion at Interlagos when Raikkonen beat him by a single point.
"It has felt like a very long time since the Brazilian Grand Prix," he added in a team statement.
"I have really kick-started my preparations for the 2008 season today."
Hamilton drove without traction control and the other so-called 'driver aids' which are banned for the new season that starts in Australia in March and said he felt comfortable with the car.
While Toro Rosso referred to their drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel as 'French Seb' and 'German Seb' to avoid confusion, Williams complicated matters by testing with two German Nicos.
Nico Rosberg was 13th fastest while 20-year-old Nico Hulkenberg was 16th.
Italian Giancarlo Fisichella continued to test for Force India, formerly the Spyker team, after making clear his interest in racing for them next season if Renault no longer want him.
"The project that was shown to me is a very interesting one," he told the Autosport Web site (www.autosport.com)
"There will be a lot more money available compared to last year, so there are a number of things that make me believe that if I stay with Force India for 2008 I'll be able to make the team grow up quite a lot."
Despite his optimism, Fisichella was slower than Austrian Christian Klien in the team's other car.
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