Jenson Button set the fastest lap of the Jerez testing fortnight on today's eighth and final day of preseason running at the Spanish venue.
The World Champion set his 1m18.871sec during a series of short runs this morning, as teams enjoyed a completely rain-free day for the first time all week. Like most of the field, Button and McLaren set their best time early in the session before switching to longer stints and heavy fuel for most of the rest of the day.
Robert Kubica followed a similar tactic and took second place for Renault, 0.243sec down on Button's time. By contrast, Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi languished down the order at first and caused an early red flag, but crept up to third with a series of consistently fast runs during the afternoon. He was followed by Tonio Liuzzi (Force India), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), with Jaime Alguersuari seventh for Toro Rosso.
Mark Webber lost several hours in the Red Bull garage after his car stopped on track. The team has yet to confirm the nature of the failure, but it required a precautionary engine change. He eventually rejoined and was eighth.
Williams spent virtually the whole day on long runs. Nico Hulkenberg was only ninth on the time sheets, but covered 137 laps despite stopping on the pits straight in the last hour.
The battle of the new teams at the tail of the field saw Timo Glock and Virgin emerging fastest, but Jarno Trulli and Lotus getting significantly more track time.
Glock's pace was promising, the German lapping on par with the existing midfield teams early on. However, continued hydraulics gremlins limited him to just 28 laps all day, and he caused the week's final red flag when he stopped in the last minute of the session.
Trulli was a second off Glock's pace and 4.5sec down on Button in his first day in the Lotus T127, but did complete an impressive 141 laps -– the most of any driver today – with no significant problems as the team focused on long runs, acclimatization and setup work.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Jenson Button McLaren 1m18.871s 108
2. Robert Kubica Renault 1m19.114s + 0.243s 117
3. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m19.188s + 0.317s 117
4. Tonio Liuzzi Force India 1m19.650s + 0.779s 80
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m20.061s + 1.190s 130
6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m20.436s + 1.565s 137
7. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m21.053s + 2.182s 139
8. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m21.194s + 2.323s 87
9. Nico Hulkenberg Williams 1m21.919s + 3.048s 137
10. Timo Glock Virgin 1m22.433s + 3.562s 28
11. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m23.470s + 4.599s 141
All timing unofficial