The Spanish sun took on the role of a ray of hope for McLaren on Wednesday, as the beleaguered F1 giant conducted its penultimate day of a troubled pre-season.

The Spanish sun took on the role of a ray of hope for McLaren on Wednesday, as the beleaguered F1 giant conducted its penultimate day of a troubled pre-season.

At the Jerez test circuit, it was not Heikki Kovalainen's defeat of the only other test runner Kazuki Nakajima that was significant, but the fact the Finn would have been within half a second of Brawn's stunning pace of the day before.

When Brawn and Renault were still circulating on Tuesday, Lewis Hamilton had been more than a second off the pace.

McLaren's post-day press release reflected the improvement: "The test proved extremely productive, both in terms of evaluating the lap time potential of the new components and their effectiveness over the course of a simulated race stint."

McLaren and Williams' final day of running on Thursday marks the formal close of the 2009 winter period.

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