Ralf Schumacher’s Williams-BMW FW25 set the pace at Paul Ricard this week and his team-mate, Juan-Pablo Montoya, called for the team to raise its game after a disappointing Spanish Grand Prix.

Ralf Schumacher’s Williams-BMW FW25 set the pace at Paul Ricard this week and his team-mate, Juan-Pablo Montoya, called for the team to raise its game after a disappointing Spanish Grand Prix.

Ralf topped the time-sheets during the team’s test session at the French circuit on Thursday after taking over the driving duties from regular test driver Marc Gene.

The German, who was doing engine development work for BMW and testing various tyre compounds for Michelin ahead of next week’s Austrian Grand Prix, outpaced the McLaren-Mercedes pair of Alex Wurz and David Coulthard.

Meanwhile, Montoya - who struggled to a fourth-place finish at Barcelona - this week said Williams had been surprised by its lack of competitiveness in the race. The team has not won a race since Ralf took victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix last year.

"I think everybody is surprised at themselves over the lack of performance during the weekend and we need to step up our game," Montoya said. "It is good that we got points out of it for the team, but it will be a big wake-up call for everybody in the team - including the drivers. Everybody wants to step up their game and everybody wants to win again."

Montoya went on to insist that his team must not give up the fight to improve the troublesome FW25 this year. "We have to work to make it better," he said. "You can't just say that is the way it is and just wait until the car is competitive. If you keep waiting and you don't work with the team then it will never happen."

In the McLaren Mercedes camp, Wurz was working on tyre development while Coulthard concentrated on fine-tuning the car's set-up.

The duo were testing the MP4-17D and not the team’s new car, the MP4-18. Over the course of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, Coulthard called for his team to introduce the MP4-18 as soon as possible so that he could keep his championship hopes alive, but the new car will only have its first test on May 18.

Another GP driver to complete a long testing stint at the wheel was BAR star Jenson Button, who drove 116 laps of the track. "We worked on the reliability of the engine and we did a big tyre test," the Briton said. "I did a massive amount of laps. It was good."

Renault ace Jarno Trulli was fourth fastest, continuing the team's engine development programme from yesterday. Test driver Allan McNish conducted a suspension development programme in Renault’s 2002-spec car.

Ricardo Zonta set the fifth fastest time for Toyota. The Brazilian and team-mate Olivier Panis conducted a tyre development programme and worked on the Toyota’s stability and braking.

Jaguar’s Mark Webber went seventh fastest on his first outing at Paul Ricard. "I enjoyed the circuit," he said. "It was a very productive test. We checked on the reliability of the engine and tried brake developments. I don't think we have one step coming before Austria, but the reliability is good."

Nick Heidfeld continued an aerodynamic development programme for Sauber. However, his car stopped on the circuit twice in the afternoon, once because of a stuck throttle.

Paul Ricard test session - Day Three

Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tyres Time Laps

1 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1:11,221s 96

2 Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1:11,322s 76

3 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes M 1:12,069s 155

4 Jarno Trulli Renault M 1:12,780s 73

5 Ricardo Zonta Toyota M 1:13,013s 84

6 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda B 1:13,161s 109

7 Mark Webber Jaguar M 1:13,432s 69

8 Olivier Panis Toyota M 1:13,574s 59

9 Jenson Button BAR-Honda B 1:13,601s 116

10 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas B 1:14,052s 87

11 Allan McNish Renault M 1:15,015s 72.