Pedro de la Rosa gave McLaren something to smile about following their disastrous United States Grand Prix when he topped the times on the first day of testing at Jerez, Spain.
The Spaniard edged out Renault's Heikki Kovalainen by four tenths of a second as the teams returned to work following the North American double-header.
Kovalainen was putting mileage on the latest specification Renault engine, which Fernando Alonso will get his hands on for the first time at next week's French Grand Prix. Giancarlo Fisichella got use of it at Indianapolis last weekend, where he finished third.
Honda Racing's Anthony Davidson was third fastest, as his team began to work with an aerodynamic upgrade that will be fitted to the RA106 for the French Grand Prix.
Team boss Nick Fry has said the Japanese manufacturer have high hopes about the new parts - although Davidson did bring out the red flags twice when his car stopped on the track.
"We are looking forward to this week," said Fry. "We have got a big programme at Jerez and hopefully major improvements on the car."
Honda's James Rossiter also brought out the red flags once after lunch.
McLaren's Gary Paffett was fourth quickest in the MP4-21, while Renault's Jose Maria Lopez was fifth overall despite bringing the day to a premature end when his car stopped on the main straight just before 5:00pm.
Alexander Wurz was the only other runner, ending the day sixth overall despite running off the track at 4:00pm.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:18.029 60 2. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:18.484 97 3. Davidson Honda (M) 1:18.694 69 4. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:18.929 76 5. Lopez Renault (M) 1:19.508 59 6. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:19.830 49 7. Rossiter Honda (M) 1:19.858 74
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