Sebastian Vettel has gone quickest again on the second day of the Barcelona test, with the German’s Red Bull team opting to drive some shorter runs for the first time, giving a good indication of the team’s low-fuel pace. Completing the top-three were Jaime Alguersuari and Fernando Alonso.
The defending World Champion opted to try a series of qualifying-style runs in the late morning, quickly putting him at the top of the timesheets. He then progressively improved his fastest lap with each run, peaking with a time of 1:23.315 that would remain unchallenged for the rest of the day.
All in all, the team could be pleased with their efforts – covering a total of 104 laps and plenty of practice pit stops – but their hopes of completing an actual race simulation went out the window, firstly caused by a red flag, and then by a technical issue that sidelined Vettel in the garage for some time.
Conditions were cloudier than on the first day of testing, but at least the test session remained completely dry, which also saw thousands of Spanish fans headed to the circuit so see their hero Alonso in action, quite possibly for the last time until May’s Spanish Grand Prix.
However, rumours are suggesting that Barcelona could stage a fourth and/or fifth pre-season test if either the final pre-season test or opening race at Bahrain is cancelled on safety grounds due to the current political protests in the Middle East.
Alonso finished up third-quickest, although he was troubled by a stoppage on his out-lap as well as a few other mechanical niggles that confined him to the garage at various stages during the day. When the issues were resolved, Alonso showed good pace, peaking with his best effort in the final hour of the day.
Williams enjoyed their best day bar far on the reliability front, with Rubens Barrichello completing 116 laps over the day, as well as running in the 1m24s range on his 10-lap stints. The Brazilian veteran finished up fourth-quickest.
Renault opted to split the day’s running between Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov once again due to Petrov losing a lot of mileage yesterday with a KERS-related issue. The Russian completed 61 laps en route to eleventh-quickest, while Heidfeld was fifth-fastest with a quick effort late in the day.
Kamui Kobayashi spent most of his day on long runs in the Sauber, before a switch to shorter stints later in the afternoon vaulted him to sixth-quickest, with a fastest lap less than a second slower than Vettel’s best of the day.
|Sauber and Mercedes GP continued their trend of being in the upper-midfield, with Kamui Kobayashi and Nico Rosberg racking up considerable mileage each.|
Mercedes GP again aimed to build more mileage on its W02, with Nico Rosberg racking up an enormous tally of 131 laps. While showing better consistency on longer runs, the car doesn’t quite seem to have the pace of the front-runners. Rosberg’s best effort came with a qualifying-style sprint late in the day.
McLaren endured another frustrating day, with Jenson Button losing a lot of time in the morning with an hydraulics-related issue. One sorted, the former World Champion was able to increase his pace, rising as high as fifth-quickest in the afternoon before slipping back to eighth at the end of the day, complaining of a lack of grip in the radical MP4-26.
Paul di Resta enjoyed more mileage than usual in the new Force India VJM04, where he looked competitive until a throttle problem send him into the gravel at Turn 1. The Scot finished in ninth, one place and over one second quicker than Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus, who experienced a series of technical niggles during the day that saw him visit the garage a few times for checks and repairs.
Team Lotus gave an outing to its prospective test driver, Formula 2 graduate Ricardo Teixeira. The Portuguese-Angolan was given 26 laps in the T128 for the team to evaluate him as a potential test driver, and it was no surprise that he was considerably slowest given his lack of miles, finishing over 8 seconds slower and plum last in the timesheets.
Vitantonio Liuzzi was another new sighting in the 2011 paddock, with Hispania Racing giving the former Force India driver an outing in its 2010-spec F110 car. The Italian completed 70 laps and finished by 3.7 seconds off Vettel’s fastest lap, but quicker than Timo Glock in the new Virgin Racing MVR-02 – the British outfit spending much of the day running system checks before it concentrated on some lap times in the afternoon.
Barcelona Pre-Season Test (Day 2) Lap Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||1:23.315||104|
|2.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 0.204||97|
|3.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150th Italia||+ 0.663||90|
|4.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 0.693||118|
|5.||Nick Heidfeld||Renault R31||+ 0.927||41|
|6.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 0.928||125|
|7.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 1.415||131|
|8.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 1.608||54|
|9.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 1.879||80|
|10.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus Renault T128||+ 3.106||58|
|11.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 3.569||61|
|12.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT Cosworth F110*||+ 3.729||70|
|13.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 3.927||66|
|14.||Ricardo Teixeira||Lotus Renault T128||+ 8.269||26|
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