Rosberg Fastest in Barcelona
Nico Rosberg has finished the 3rd day of testing in Barcelona at the top of the time sheet. Rosberg produced the fastest lap of 1m 23.167s in the closing stages of the session. His fastest time came in a single-lap, qualifying-style run.
In a press release from the Mercedes GP team, they said Rosberg “continued his familiarisation with the KERS system in conjunction with set-up comparisons over longer runs to further develop the team’s understanding of car and tyre behaviour” today.
Completing 92 laps today, Rosberg brought his total lap count for the Barcelona test to 223 laps, which equates to more than 1030km and demonstrates an encouraging step forward in reliability for the team from earlier tests this winter.
Rosberg said: “It was interesting running with the intermediates this morning and, although the warm-up is tricky, we definitely improved our understanding of the tyres. Our long runs this afternoon included some aero work in preparation for our next upgrade package before going into lower-fuel, new-tyre running at the end of the day. We made good progress in understanding the car and the tyres, and the reliability was solid once again. Overall, I’ve enjoyed two positive and productive days here in Barcelona.”
Testing got underway in wet conditions on Sunday morning, slowly drying out as the session progressed. By the afternoon only a few damp patches remained.
Lotus Renault GP's Vitaly Petrov was second fastest of the day, and was only 0.295 seconds slower than Rosberg. Petrov, completed over 90 laps on the day, and like Rosberg, his fastest times came on some short two and three lap runs.
Lotus Renault GP’s Technical director, Alan Permane said: “It was a slow start to the day with the wet conditions, but we did some long runs on the intermediates. However we were interrupted by several red flags.”
“For the afternoon, Vitaly started a set-up programme, and we made some good progress with the suspension changes at the front and rear. We also did some work with tyre pressures and found some more improvements. Overall the car has responded well to the changes today and Vitaly has been much happier.”
Petrov added: “We used the intermediates to begin with and it was one of our first opportunities to do a lot of laps with them. The only issue we had was warming them up because it was very cold early on. The plan was to do a race distance in the morning and we managed quite a lot of long runs while the track was wet. Then, we put the slicks on just before lunch and started improving the set-up. We learned a lot of new things and I’m starting to understand the tires more and how to get the most from this car.”
It was Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel of the MP4-26 for McLaren today, although reliability issues in the morning saw the British driver spend the majority of the session returning to the pits after single lap runs. However, once his car was back up and running Hamilton was quick and produced the third fastest time of the day.
There were a number of red flags, with the likes of Williams’ Pastor Maldonado, Sauber’s Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa all spinning off in the wet conditions.
Maldonado went on to produce the fourth fastest time of the day for Williams, even though his car did suffer an alternator problem earlier in the day, which cost him testing time.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber completed the most laps today, crossing the start/finish straight 139 times. Although, the Aussie did bring the day to an end slightly earlier than planned, when two minutes before the session was due to finish he stopped his Red Bull out on the circuit forcing the final red flag of the day.
Team Lotus, were again hampered by water leak issues, but the car did show good pace as Jarno Trulli took sixth ahead of Sauber’s Sergio Perez and Force India's Adrian Sutil.
After giving ex-Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi a test session on Saturday, the HRT team split its running time today between two drivers. Recently signed Narain Karthikeyan took the driving duties in the morning, whilst in the afternoon he handed the car over to Giorgio Mondini.
Mondini made his Formula 1 debut back in 2005, when he tested a Renault R25 as a reward for winning the Formula Renault V6 series. He covered 39 laps.
F1 TEAM TESTING -T03 – BARCELONA (SUNDAY)
Lotus Renault GP
All timing unofficial