The first test of the pre-Christmas period continued apace in northern Spain on Wednesday, as every team except Spyker clocked up kilometres of the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo.
While much attention was focused on twice world champion Mika Hakkinen’s presence ahead of his cockpit return on Thursday, the rain clouds disappeared after lunch and left Felipe Massa once again quickest in his Ferrari.
Meanwhile, the Spanish press continued to pile pressure on McLaren’s new signing Lewis Hamilton — the newspaper ‘Marca’ headlined that Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa, the continuing test driver, ‘is still quicker’ than the rookie.
Following his technical problem on Tuesday, a McLaren statement explained that yet more drama afflicted 21-year-old Hamilton on his second day as a race pilot.
The young Briton ‘suffered a mechanical failure on his right rear wheel assembly, which caused him to stop out on track’, the Woking based team said. Williams’ Alex Wurz reportedly had a failure of his Toyota engine.
At the start of the post-Fernando Alonso period, Renault is so far settling in the midfield, and Alonso’s 2007 replacement Heikki Kovalainen languished more than two seconds off the pace as he grappled with the switch to Bridgestone tyres.
The Finn also ‘conducted tests with different helmet types to evaluate their impact on air intake pressure’, a statement said.
On Thursday in Barcelona, the session’s final day, BMW-Sauber will welcome Timo Glock to the test cockpit, while Toyota run with their race lineup Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli.
The pair take over from Olivier Panis, at his second to last test before leaving formula one, and Wednesday debutant Kamui Kobayashi, who is twenty years younger than the French veteran and brought up the rear of the field after a slow start to his career.