Jerez 1: Montoya fastest

Juan Pablo Montoya returned to the cockpit of a McLaren after a week off and promptly set the fastest time on the first day of the last major F1 test of the year at Jerez in Spain

Jerez 1: Montoya fastest

McLaren's new signing, who missed out on last week's rain-interrupted Jerez test, was greeted by warm sunshine, and although he only completed 20 laps in the morning, settled down to work through an intensive tyre programme in the afternoon.

Montoya was joined on-track by McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa, who was third quickest. Both drivers ran hybrid cars that simulated a 20 per cent downforce reduction, as expected from the 2005 regulations, because there were no new aero parts to run.

"It's been a fantastic day compared to the last week," said de la Rosa, who admitted that most of the teams are behind schedule after last week's rain. "I did lots of tyres, mainly long runs. But I have still got so many more tyres to do!"

Jarno Trulli, who stayed in Spain over the weekend to continue his training, and now with a fully-recovered eye, was second fastest. Both he and Toyota team-mate Ralf Schumacher spent the day testing Michelin tyres as the French company tried to make for all the dry weather running it missed out on last week.

The Italian admitted that he is revelling in the handling characteristics of the TF104B hybrid. "It was a good day because we didn't do much last week," he said, "and the good thing about this car is that it is so easy to drive. I can push and push every lap. But we still have got to catch up on lots of things for tomorrow."

Ferrari was the only other team present and it too tasked both its drivers Luca Badoer and Marc Gene to mammoth Bridgestone tyre programmes. Badoer was running in a completely 2005-legal chassis, while Gene drove a 2004 hybrid with an '05 aero package.

Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams BMW), 1m16.545s, 73
Jarno Trulli (Toyota), 1m17.190s, 95
Pedro de la Rosa (Toyota), 1m17.274s, 89
Ralf Schumacher (Toyota), 1m17.420s, 86
Luca Badoer (Ferrari), 1m18.762s, 100
Marc Gene (Ferrari), 1m19.226s, 120

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