Feb 26: Reigning Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso, now a McLaren Mercedes driver after his move from Renault at the end of last season, carried on where he had left off in 2006 as the Spaniard set the fastest time in the third and final official testing session at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday (February 25th).

Alonso ended the first three-day Formula One test at the venue at the top of the timesheets, with his young team-mate, 22-year-old Englishman Lewis Hamilton, close behind.

Reigning Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in the third and final official testing session at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday.

Alonso ended the first three-day Formula One test at the venue at the top of the day's timesheets, with his young team-mate, 22-year-old Englishman Lewis Hamilton, close behind.









It was a demonstration of strength by the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team as 16 contenders for this year's F.I.A. Formula One World Championship continued their pre-season preparations in readiness for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 16th.

Alonso was timed at one minute, 30.994 seconds, with Hamilton registering one minute, 31.094 seconds.

2007 will be a transitional season for Ferrari in many ways.

The legendary Michael Schumacher has now gone, while crucial technical staff, such as director Ross Brawn and manager Nigel Stepney, are taking year-long sabbaticals.

So, they will have been pleased with Brazilian Felipe Massa and flying Finn Kimi Raikkonen clocking one minute, 31.718 seconds and one minute, 31.867 seconds to take third and fourth respectively.

Another Finn, Heikki Kovalainen, had a great start to his career as a Renault driver as he came fifth in a time of one minute, 32.032 seconds.

Honda driver Rubens Barrichello racked up an impressive 130 laps of the BIC through the course of the day on his way to sixth-fastest time, while team-mate Jenson Button was just behind in seventh.

While none of the runners got close to the pace of BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld's lap on Friday, the teams all focused on the various issues of pace, reliability and race simulation in readiness for the start of the new season.

The sight and sound of Formula One cars at their limit had been enjoyed by a crowd of over 3,500 - the gates of the Bahrain International Circuit were open to the public to get a taste of the action that awaits at this year's Bahrain Grand Prix on April 15th.

Bureau Report