Michael Schumacher has set the fastest time at the second day of testing in Jerez, with a lap time of 1m 20.352s. The seven time World Champion completed 112 laps of the Spanish circuit in the new Mercedes GP MGP W02.
The German driver ran the Mercedes KERS operational throughout the day to continue his familiarisation process, and the team focused on system checks with shorter runs in the early part of the day, before progressing to set-up work and tyre evaluations with the medium and super soft Pirelli tyre compounds over longer runs.
Schumacher, who continues the test programme tomorrow, before Nico Rosberg takes over on Sunday, said: "It clearly was a productive day, and obviously I am happy about that. We were focusing on long runs and being able to produce such a lot of mileage is positive in terms of reliability. It also gives us good data for the test days to come and for the developments we are working on. We are moving forward as we should during the testing period but at the same time, we are aware we have to keep pushing."
Ferrari's Felipe Massa was the only other driver to get into the 1m 20s, to finish the day second fastest. Although, the Brazilian driver's times slowed, and his runs got longer in the afternoon session, suggesting the team were working on heavier fuel load runs. Massa again completed the most laps for the second day running, crossing the line 116 times.
It was Jenson Button's turn to get behind the wheel of McLaren's new MP4-26, and although his day got off to a slow start as the team continued to work on system checks and installation runs throughout the morning session. The 2009 World Champion finished 3rd fastest, completing 69 laps.
Jenson said: “The morning was spent getting me satisfactorily fitted in the car, adapting to the hybrid, which is new to me, and getting used to how the system works. I like the power boost it gives you. I felt a lot more comfortable with the car at the end of the day after we’d played around with a few things in the cockpit. We’ve made some good progress."
The British driver added: “We’ve tried the different Pirelli tyres – there are big differences across the compound range; not only in terms of laptime, but also with degradation and durability. It’s going to be fun for racing, I think, and it’s what everyone wanted. The TV viewers will certainly know the differences between the tyres. It’s been a good first day. On Sunday, I hope we can start to have a crack at seeing what the car really has in it.”
Toro Rosso driver, Jaime Alguersuari was fourth-fastest, with the team concentration on tyre evaluation, weight distribution and car set-up. Speaking of the progress made today, Alguersuari said: “After another day and a half in the car here, following on from last week in Valencia, I feel we have made progress in terms of our understanding of the Pirelli tyres, which was one of our main targets this week. I tried all compounds except the Super-soft here and I had a good feeling from the car with all of them, getting an idea of their different behaviour. I also made progress in terms of using the KERS and the DRS (downforce reduction system) which to be honest, does not look as complicated as I expected it to be."
The Spanish driver added: "The important thing is that we are making progress every time I go out of the garage. In performance terms, it is still a bit too early to start drawing conclusions, especially as the lap times here vary a lot from the morning to the afternoon, but I am reasonably confident that this side of the car’s progress is on the right track. Of course, there is still a lot of work to do, but now Buemi will drive for another two days, so I expect to find even more improvements when I get back in the car in Barcelona next week.”
Red Bull's Mark Webber was fifth fastest, and again continued to produce impressive long-run times in the new RB7. Even though his fastest time of the day came in a short three lap run, the Australian driver was infact only a couple of tenths faster than the times he set on his longer run.
Mark Webber said: “The car ran very well and we’re continuing to learn. It’s very early days at the moment in terms of performance and there’s a long way to go before the first race, but we’ve got some good mileage in, which is important.”
Ian Morgan Head of Race Engineering at Red Bull added: “We continued to evaluate the new Pirelli tyres today, as well as testing some new aerodynamic components and development parts. It was a productive day; we concentrated on long runs and completed our programme. We’ve had good reliability and Mark’s had a solid two days in the car.”
Sauber rookie Sergio Perez, again completed a lot of laps for the team and finished seventh fastest. However, cut his team's day short when he crashed between Turns 7 and 8, damaging the front end of the new Sauber C30.
Sauber technical director, James Key said: “Generally it was going fine today, but unfortunately Sergio had an off in the afternoon. He lost the rear end when he was on hard tyres, but these things happen and are part of the learning process."
Key continued "Overall Sergio made a good step forward. He settled in pretty quickly and gave us a lot of useful information. It was a busy day up to the accident. We have tested chassis set-up directions and were cycling through a number of set-up scans on the car and with the tyres to get further mechanical directions. After we only used three sets of tyres yesterday, we were able to use new sets more often this morning. We did a run through from the hard to the super soft Pirelli compounds. We had no warm up issues with the medium and hard compounds, but we believe we should get more out of the softer ones. Compounds, however, will change. We have checked the car after the incident and have found nothing wrong with it. We will be ready to continue tomorrow.”
Perez added: “I’m fine but I feel sorry for the team, and especially the mechanics, because of the crash. I lost the rear in turn seven and we obviously lost working time. I hope the rest of the test will be good for the team and Kamui, and they cover a lot of mileage. For me it was another day during which I have learnt a lot.
Fellow F1 rookie and Williams' driver, Pastor Maldonado also brought the test session to a temporary stop, when he crashed at the exit of Turn 4. He went through the gravel trap and into the wall, damaging the front and rear of the car.
The Williams team had already lost a large amount of running when they very forced to strip down and reassemble the KERS system as a precaution following a warning from the unit in the morning. Maldonado had only done two laps after rejoining when he crashed.
Both Force India and Lotus Renault GP stuck to mainly short runs.
Virgin Racing concentrated on longer running in the morning session, before Timo Glock set his best time of 1m 22.208s to finish eighth place in the final half-hour.
Team Lotus also concentrated on longer runs in the morning, with Jarno Trulli behind the wheel of the T128. Although, the car didn't re-appear for the afternoon session due to an unspecified mechanical problem, which requires spare parts from its UK base.
F1 TEAM TESTING -T02 – JEREZ (FRIDAY)
All timing unofficial