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Brawn GP set stunning test pace

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Report - Brawn GP catch the eye in Barcelona

Brawn GP completed a remarkable week by setting a stunning pace on the last day of testing in Barcelona on Thursday.

While world champion Lewis Hamilton struggled again in the McLaren, veteran Brazilian Rubens Barrichello was over a second quicker than the field.

Hamilton was almost two seconds and five kilometres an hour down on Barrichello, completing just 70 laps.

It is only seven days since the former Honda team confirmed it would be on the grid for the new season.

But their performances at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya have been impressive, with Jenson Button going over a second quicker than his rivals on Wednesday.

BBC Sport understands that Renault's former world champion Fernando Alonso felt he could not match Button's fastest lap, while Ferrari's Felipe Massa was nonplussed by the new team's performance despite having healthy respect for team principal Ross Brawn from his days with the Italian team.

That the car has run so reliably 'out of the box' is a tribute to the strong team that we have

Ross Brawn

Barrichello, almost certainly using a qualifying set-up, was the only driver to go under 79 seconds on Thursday, with a one minute 18.926 seconds, as he completed 110 laps.

"We are extremely pleased with the inaugural test of the BGP 001 car in Barcelona this week," said Brawn.

"The team made a very late start to our pre-season testing programme with only seven days in which to run the car before the first race in Melbourne, therefore our focus has been on reliability and achieving as much mileage as possible.

"Both of these aims have been successfully achieved this week.

"That the car has run so reliably 'out of the box' is a tribute to the strong team that we have at our factory in Brackley and they have done a great job during a very difficult period.

"The car is performing to our expectations and the feedback from Jenson and Rubens has been positive with both drivers completing full race distances.

"We have three further days of testing in Jerez next week to complete our preparations for the first race and I look forward to seeing how the car progresses from here."

Hamilton did manage the best time of the week for McLaren with 1:20.869, and the team said they had spent the day "focusing on mechanical set-up".

McLaren are among the teams heading to Jerez, Spain, next week for their final testing session.

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Williams' Nico Rosberg was the second fastest on Thursday, 0.848secs adrift of Barrichello, with Timo Glock just over a second down in the Toyota.

Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel and Alonso finished fourth and fifth respectively, followed by Massa, Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber, and Hamilton.

Sebastien Buemi and Sebastien Bourdais in the new Toro Rosso sandwiched Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella as the trio finished ninth, 10th and 11th overall.

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see also
Testing times for all in Spain
09 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Rubens Barrichello
10 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Dennis plays down McLaren concern
11 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Brawn delighted just to make grid
10 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
'Lucky' Barrichello soothes Senna
10 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Button pleased with early testing
10 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Toro Rosso last to unveil new car
09 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Ex-Honda team 'seal F1 survival'
05 Mar 09 |  Formula 1


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