Nico Hülkenberg has continued Force India’s impressive pre-season testing form by ending on top of the timesheets on the second day of pre-season testing at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
The German posted his fastest lap in the morning on a set of Super Soft Pirelli tyres, edging out Sauber driver Sergio Pérez by just four-hundredths of a second.
Conditions were again chilly when the circuit opened for business at 9:00am local time, and it was no surprise to see Caterham out on track first, with new signing Vitaly Petrov getting his first miles for the team. Overnight, the team had brought a selection of new parts after Heikki Kovalainen’s running had been cut short the day before when he was hit with a suspension failure that ended his planned programme.
Local hero Fernando Alonso headed the timesheets early on in his Ferrari, before Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton took over at the top of the timesheets. Just before lunch, Hülkenberg and Pérez leapt ahead when they bolted on a set of Super Soft tyres just before the lunch break.
Vettel ended the day third-fastest, with most teams quietly admitting that the Red Bull Racing RB8 appears to be the pace-setter so far. The German attempted a full race simulation in the afternoon, posting 67 laps in his afternoon session.
Alonso finished the day fourth-fastest, while Daniel Ricciardo was fifth on the timesheets in his Toro Rosso. The Australian triggered both of the day’s red flag stoppages: the first came when he stalled exiting the pit lane, and the second came when he ground to a halt in the afternoon. The team confirmed that the problems he faced were unrelated to the stoppage that hit the team the day before.
Lewis Hamilton ended up sixth-quickest, clocking up the most laps in his McLaren as he attempted a race simulation in the afternoon, while Nico Rosberg had his first public outing in Mercedes’ new W03 challenger, finishing just under two seconds slower than his fellow countryman Hülkenberg.
Williams reserve driver Valtteri Bottas also had his first run in the team’s new Renault-powered FW34 challenger as the team worked on improving the car’s slow-corner balance, while Petrov finished the day second-slowest, ahead of Marussia rookie Charles Pic.
The final session times were as follows:
|1.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:22.608||112|
|2.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||+ 0.040||85|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||+ 0.283||104|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||+ 0.572||87|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||+ 1.031||48|
|6.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||+ 1.198||121|
|7.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||+ 1.947||82|
|8.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW34||+ 3.130||117|
|9.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||+ 3.997||69|
|10.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing MVR02*||+ 4.735||108|
* Denotes 2011 car