Sergio Pérez has hit the top of the timesheets on a highly-charged penultimate day of pre-season testing at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. The Mexican pipped Jenson Button to top honours by a mere nine-thousandths of a second, before the weather – like the atmosphere in the paddock – turned nasty.
One of the day’s major talking points were the major updates that were shown off by Red Bull Racing and McLaren over the course of the day. Red Bull’s RB8 features a host of new components, including new exhausts, sidepods and wings. He kept a fairly low profile for the day – only once completing a stint lasting more than five laps – although his fastest lap was just over half a second off Pérez’s best.
McLaren’s MP4-27 challenger also featured a host of new components, and while Button would finish just short of claiming top spot, he did also lose crucial time while an hydraulics problem was investigated.
Third-quickest on the day was Daniel Ricciardo, who finished up just six-hundredths of a second off Pérez’s fastest time in his Toro Rosso. The Australian enjoyed several longer stints on softer rubber, but one simulation was interrupted by a heavy afternoon shower, which included a hailstorm that forced marshals to suspend proceedings.
The conditions didn’t improve sufficiently for the drivers to switch back to dry-weather tyres, but they did gain some useful mileage on Pirelli’s wet-weather tyres.
The weather was perhaps symbolic of the mood in the Ferrari camp, despite Felipe Massa completing a massive 122 laps and finishing fourth-quickest on the day. The major talking point was its press office banning its drivers from any further media activities for the rest of the test session.
It apparently came after a rather frosty reception from members of the Spanish and Italian media when they had the opportunity to meet with Ferrari’s media boss Luca Colajanni.
The top-nine drivers on the timesheets were covered by just eight-tenths of a second on the timesheets, and after team-mate Romain Grosjean had topped the timesheets over the previous two days, Kimi Räikkönen completed just 43 laps after he lost a bundle of time in the Lotus F1 garage while a steering issue was resolved.
The final session times were as follows:
|1.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:22.094||114|
|2.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||+ 0.009||44|
|3.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||+ 0.061||131|
|4.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||+ 0.319||122|
|5.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||+ 0.352||108|
|6.||Bruno Senna||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||+ 0.386||111|
|7.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||+ 0.536||64|
|8.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||+ 0.568||70|
|9.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||+ 0.838||129|
|10.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||+ 3.285||43|
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