Vettel fastest in Barcelona for second day running
Sebastian Vettel has again finished top of the time sheet for the second day running at the Barcelona pre-season tests. The current world champion completed 104 laps of the Catalunya circuit today, and produced a fastest lap time of 1m 23.315s.
Vettel concentrated on shorter runs today, which for the first time gave everyone a hint of the new RB7’s potential. Red Bull also spent time completing a lot of pit-stop simulations.
Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari, had another good days testing at his home circuit in Barcelona, finishing the day second fastest. The Spanish driver concentrated on both shorter and longer runs throughout the day, with his best time coming on the first lap of a three-lap stint late on in the afternoon session. Alguersuari was only 0.2 seconds off Vettel’s pace.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished the day third fastest, although his day wasn’t without issues. The F150th Italia suffered an electrical problem in the morning session, which left Alonso stranded out on track. Although, this problem was fixed quickly, Alonso was hit with further mechanical problems throughout the rest of the day, which saw the Spanish driver spending a lot of time sat in the Ferrari garage. Even so, the F150th Italia was back up to speed by the end of the day, with Alonso posting his personal best time of the day in the final half hour of the afternoon session.
Williams’ Rubens Barrichello was another driver who produced his fastest lap of the day in the final hour of the afternoon session to finish 4th overall. It was the team’s best day of winter testing so far in terms of reliability, as Barrichello managed to complete 116 trouble-free laps.
After the Lotus Renault GP suffered a few issues with their KERS system yesterday, which lost Vitaly Petrov some testing time, the team decided it was only fair to split the second day of testing between Petrov and Nick Heidfeld. Petrov completed 61 laps and was 11th at the end of the morning session, while Heidfeld completed just 41 laps, but did produce a lap time of 1m 24.242s to place him fifth overall on the day.
Petrov said: “After losing the track time yesterday, it was nice to be back in the car this morning and we completed quite a lot of laps. We found a lot of new things and worked on the general set-up, as well as understanding how the tyres are performing. It’s quite cold here, especially compared to Jerez, so it was difficult to warm up the tyres to begin with, but we’ve learned quite a lot from the short runs we did.”
Meanwhile, Heidfeld added: “The balance of the car was not as good as it was in Jerez, but we did improve things by the end of the day. We lost a bit of time at the start of the afternoon, but when I did get out we did some useful work including new tyre runs, data collection and some work on the car’s systems. But we still need lots more mileage because there are a lot of things on our job list to try, especially for the set-up of the car.”
Nico Rosberg was seventh fastest, starting the day with some longer runs. The MGP W02 showed better consistency today than it has of late, although it still appeared to be lacking in outright pace compared to its main rivals. Rosberg said of his day testing: “We completed a great deal of mileage and that was important for me to understand more about the tyre behaviour. There is a lot for the drivers to learn about how the Pirelli tyres are performing, and about how to make them last over the long runs; it´s going to be a key factor this year in the races and I think we made good progress on that front today. The reliability was ok but everybody in the team knows we need to keep pushing to make sure we are trouble-free for the start of the season.”
Over at the McLaren garage, Jenson Button was forced to sit out for the majority of the morning session due to a hydraulic problem with the MP4-26. Button only managed to complete 54 laps over the day and finished eighth fastest.
Team Lotus gave Ricardo Teixeira 26 laps in the new T128. The Formula 2 graduate was hoping to impress the team as he pushes for a test position with them. He was 8.3s off the pace.
The Hispania F1 team, had ex-Force India driver, Tonio Liuzzi testing the car today, as they evaluated the Italian driver as a possibility for their second race seat for the 2011 season. Liuzzi completed 70 laps getting used to the car and was 3.7s off the pace in 12th.
Paul Di Resta
All Timing Unofficial