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McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa was pleased after he put McLaren out in front on Friday, in the first practice sessions for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard, driving the third Michelin-shod MP4-20 car, set the fastest time of the day in the second session, lapping the Albert Park track in 1 minute and 25.376 seconds. Finnish team mate Kimi Raikkonen was second quickest, just a tenth of a second behind de la Rosa.

"This is the first time we have been able to run at relatively high track temperatures, so we learnt a lot," said de la Rosa. "On one of my laps during a long run, in the second session, one of the Jordans and me touched and I ended up in the gravel, but there was no damage so I was able to carry on.

"I really enjoyed driving in front of the enthusiastic Australian spectators and will spend the rest of the weekend helping the engineers."

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest non-test driver in the morning and finished fifth in the afternoon.

"The track got faster and faster as more rubber was laid down," said the Colombian. "I limited my running to conserve the package, and we will rely a lot on Pedro's feedback to help us make the right tyre choice.

"It's great being in Australia with my new team, and I look forward to tomorrow when we will get more of an idea where we are compared to the competition, but so far so good."

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