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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2010

Auto racing: Massa makes return to F1 testing after crash

AP Auto Racing Writer

VALENCIA, Spain Felipe Massa returned to a competitive Formula One car Monday and the Ferrari driver was fastest in a morning testing session his first since a life-threatening crash last summer.

Massa led the seven-car field at Valencia's Cheste Circuit with a best lap time of 1 minute, 13.088 seconds. Massa, who completed 32 laps, was nearly two-tenths of a second faster than Pedro De la Rosa of Sauber.

Massa suffered a skull fracture during a crash at the Hungarian Grand Prix last July. The 28-year-old Brazilian underwent surgery and missed the remainder of the season.

Massa has driven several older model Ferraris since late last year, but Monday's outing was the first in the new F10 car.

Ferrari set the pace as F1's 2010 campaign got under way, with Michael Schumacher expected to return to the track with Mercedes GP later Monday. The 41-year-old German is racing again for the first time since retiring in 2006.

Teammate Nico Rosberg was on the track in the morning and was third with a best lap of 1:13.543 in the former Brawn GP car nearly half a second back of Massa.

McLaren test driver Gary Paffett was fourth, Rubens Barrichello of Williams was fifth, while Renault driver Robert Kubica and Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi completed the standings.

Massa will also drive Tuesday before giving way to new teammate Fernando Alonso a day later.