Barcelona day 5: Ralf tops the times

Ralf Schumacher set the pace on the final day of testing at Barcelona today (Friday), setting a best time 0.233s faster than Williams-BMW team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya

Barcelona day 5: Ralf tops the times

Only four cars were running on the final day of the test at the Spanish circuit, with rookie drivers Ralph Firman (Jordan) and Antonio Pizzonia (Jaguar) also running for their respective teams. The rain that had dogged the previous two days of the test finally disappeared today, allowing the teams to get down to some serious running.

Schumacher was happy with the progress Williams has made on the FW25 since its debut. "We are definitely starting the season with the new car, and it is true that I wanted to start the season with the old car back when things were not going so well," he said. "But we can see that the new car has potential, what it's lacking is aerodynamics. Mechanically, it's good, as we saw in the wet, we've just got mountains of work to do on the aerodynamics."

Firman and Pizzonia both took to the track late in the day to practice qualifying runs. The Jordan driver 'won' the qualifying battle, beating the Brazilian's best time by just 0.002s. However, whilst Firman was running on low tanks, Pizzonia was practising qualifying runs with a heavy fuel load, in preparation for this year's new regulations.

The Jaguar driver said: "I'm ready to start the season. I think we have done a really good job here because of the weather. Today I played with the set-up and I tried some qualifying runs with heavy fuel. It was so strange."

Pizzonia also gave his approval of Jaguar's recent decision to take part in the Friday morning test sessions. "I'm happy we are taking part in Friday testing because I can learn the tracks better and set the car up more," he said. "I'm ready for Melbourne now!"

Firman was also pleased with the progress he's made in testing. It was the rookie's final major test before the Australian Grand Prix. "Finally we got a dry day," he said. "It's a shame we lost two hours because of an electrical problem, but we got an extra 30 laps in. Having done six days of testing I have a lot more confidence now. I am happy I've had six days, but I'd have liked to have had more.

"Today I tried qualifying runs, which was my first time driving an F1 car with low fuel and it was great! I feel that I've finally got to grips with the car and I can't wait to get to Melbourne."

Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m17.959s 81
Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m18.291s 80
Ralph Firman Jordan-Ford B 1m18.396s 59
Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar M 1m19.398s 68

B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin

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