Ralf leads final day of testing at Silverstone

RALF SCHUMACHER was the fastest driver at Silverstone on Thursday, the final day of testing at the British circuit in preparation for the Spanish GP. Schumacher led Renault driver Jenson Button, who was fastest during the first two days of the test, by just over fifteen hundredths of a second.

Button completed tire testing for Michelin in the R202, and the team was pleased with the successful three days. "Overall, we have had a very productive three days' work in preparation for Barcelona," said Mike Gascoyne. "Jenson is extremely pleased with the car's competitiveness."

Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve wrapped up BARs three day testing program Thursday. Panis finished the final day third fastest, ahead of Williams test driver Marc Gene.

Jordan drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato were fifth and sixth fastest Thursday. Both drivers concentrated on aerodynamics and traction control, while Sato worked on testing brake compounds as well.

Felipe Massa took over for his Sauber teammate, Nick Heidfeld, at Silverstone Thursday. The Brazilian spent his time learning the Silverstone circuit, in preparation for the British GP in July. "Silverstone was a new circuit for me and I really like it," said Massa. "There are quite a lot of quick corners and it is not so easy to get familiar with, but I was happy to be very close to Nick's lap time from yesterday. That was not such a bad beginning! We worked on the balance of my car and also we have done some good work here this week, which will help us in Spain. This test has also allowed me to learn the Silverstone circuit which most of the other drivers know so well, before the British Grand Prix."

Pedro De la Rosa replaced Eddie Irvine testing for Jaguar Thursday. Irvine spent Tuesday and Wednesday behind the wheel, while De la Rosa tested Thursday, in preparation for his home Grand Prix.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Mark Webber also continued testing at Silverstone on Thursday for Arrows and Minardi, two teams that rarely do any testing throughout the year.

The teams will now prepare to travel to Barcelona for next weekend's race.

SILVERSTONE TEST - THURSDAY, 18 APRIL 2002

POS

DRIVER ENTRANT TIME

1.

RALF SCHUMACHER Williams-BMW 1:22.142

2.

JENSON BUTTON Renault 1:22.295

3.

OLIVIER PANIS BAR-Honda 1:22.377

4.

MARC GENE Williams-BMW 1:22.406

5.

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Jordan-Honda 1:22.524

6.

TAKUMA SATO Jordan-Honda 1:22.890

7.

JACQUES VILLENEUVE BAR-Honda 1:22.970

8.

FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas 1:23.375

9.

PEDRO DE LA ROSA Jaguar-Cosworth 1:23.678

10.

HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN Arrows-Cosworth 1:24.630

11.

MARK WEBBER Minardi-Asiatech 1:26.203

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