Raikkonen Quickest at Paul Ricard

McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen continued to demonstrate the pace of his upgraded Mercedes engine by setting the pace during the first day of testing at Paul Ricard

Raikkonen Quickest at Paul Ricard

The Finn, who powered to his third career victory at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix with the help of an upgraded Mercedes power unit, set the pace with an early lap of 1:04.106 round the French circuit's 2D configuration.

Teammate Alex Wurz used the older specification engine and recorded a time more than 1.7 seconds slower than the Finn. The Austrian was completing data acquisition work for the Woking squad.

Riccardo Zonta completed electronic work for Toyota and recorded the second fastest time. The Brazilian worked alongside Frenchman Olivier Panis, eighth quickest today.

Championship leaders Renault had two drivers in action, with GP2 championship leader Heikki Kovalainen outpacing French test driver Frank Montagny after covering a massive 213 laps.

Despite serving a two-race ban, the BAR-Honda team were present at Paul Ricard with test drivers Anthony Davidson and Enrique Bernoldi.

Davidson was completing further work on new aerodynamic parts, now scheduled to be introduced at the European Grand Prix at the end of the month. Racing drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato will take over testing duties tomorrow.

Felipe Massa was the only man in action for the Sauber team, the Brazilian working mainly on tyre testing for Monaco. Massa will hand over to Jacques Villeneuve tomorrow.

"Although the track was a bit damp in the morning we were able to complete our programme of today as scheduled and without technical problems," said Sauber's race engineer Giampaolo Dall'Ara. "We mainly focused on the evaluation of new aerodynamic parts and worked with Michelin on the tyre side for the Monaco Grand Prix next week. Overall, the day was quite good and productive.

"Tomorrow Jacques will take over the driving and therefore we have planned to run a data validation of the aerodynamic and Michelin tyre tests which we did today. In addition, this week we will conduct a medium downforce and Michelin tyre programme in preparation for the races in Montreal and Indianapolis in June."

Testing continues tomorrow.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:04.106 146 2. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:04.623 106 3. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:04.735 213 4. Montagny Renault (M) 1:04.786 152 5. Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:05.066 102 6. Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:05.251 109 7. Bernoldi BAR-Honda (M) 1:05.273 171 8. Panis Toyota (M) 1:05.304 92 9. Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:05.414 148 10. Davidson BAR-Honda (M) 1:05.435 117 11. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:05.746 93 All Timing Unofficial 
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen
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