Barcelona Final Day: Times
|Di Resta||Force India VJM06||1’21.664||112||1.534|
|Vettel||Red Bull RB9||1’22.514||100||2.384|
|Ricciardo||Toro Rosso STR8||1’23.628||91||3.498|
Testing summary in brief
Most importantly 7 drivers got over 100 laps in today and Chilton and Bianchi who split the day between them managed a combined 111 laps for the team.
Caterham finally managed to complete a day where they finished ahead of their main rivals – but having seen the instructions sent to the team from Fernandes last year in Jerez – to get a fast time for the sponsors – who knows how many millimetres of fuel were in the car when it returned to the pits.
Rosberg set the fastest time of the Winter mid-morning with Alonso possibly feeling the need to prove something taking top spot mid-way through the afternoon. However, Mercedes sent Nico out again he reclaimed his top of the heap spot with apparent ease.
Funny how F1 changes so quickly. Early in the week Lewis was downbeat saying top 10 was the best the team could hope for. Now Gary Anderson technical analyst for the BBC thinks they can win the WCC. (Should have read some TJ13 articles over the winter 😉 )
Sam Michael is also impressed, “You can clearly see Mercedes are fast. They have been fast all the time.” They have had some reliability issues throughout testing – as have Lotus – and resolving this may be the key to how well they perform in the first 4 flyaway races.
Here are the fastest lap times for the Barcelona tests. Remember, today was the best day, with the highest track temperature, and Barcelona is a strange circuit – there can be an hour in the day where air and track temperature and wind are all aligned to provide the perfect conditions.
|1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:20.130|
|2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1:20.494|
|3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:20.558|
|4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1:21.266|
|5. Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:21.444|
|6. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) 1:21.541|
|7. Adrian Sutil (Force India) 21.627|
|8. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 1:21.658|
|9. Paul di Resta (Force India) 1:21.664|
|10. Sergio Perez (McLaren) 1:21.848|
|11. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 1:22.188|
|12. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:22.197|
|13. Pastor Maldonado (Williams) 1:22.415|
|14. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:22.468|
|15. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 1:22.553|
|16. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 22.658|
|17. Charles Pic (Caterham) 1:23.115|
|18. Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 1:23.167|
|19. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1:23.223|
|20. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 1:23.628|
|21. Max Chilton (Marussia) 1:24.103|
|22. Giedo van der Garde (Caterham) 1:24.23|
I commented on the pull rod suspension system being a lot more tricky for the mechanics to work on when changing set-up last year as Ferrari ran this option. It appears McLaren are suffering the same difficulties as a change of settings for Perez and Button over the past 2 days have taken some 30 minutes.
Whilst Jenson looks quick with this car, his need to tinker with setup could be compromised during free practice and qualifying if changes take this long on race weekends. This was something Massa appeared to have difficulties with in the first half of 2012.
“There are nine teams within one second,” Sam Michael observes but this is a “broad-brush estimation given the caveat of fuel loads, variability in track conditions and so on”.
The teams claim that testing times mean nothing – and day to day this is true, but by the end of the final day they have a good idea of the pecking order. there appears to a some agreement that Mercedes, Lotus, Ferrari and Red Bull are fairly close with McLaren not too far behind in pace.
It is important to remember that for each 10kg of fuel this represents 0.3-0.4 seconds and that Red Bull are known to consistently test with 60kgs. This margin for error means McLaren have looked a little slow on the long runs but Michael defends this arguing “but it depends which ones you look at; some are good and some aren’t”.
We’ll definitely be in the mix. In terms of confidence of whether we can be on the front row and win in Melbourne, I just don’t know. I wouldn’t say I was confident or unconfident. I’m neither way, just because I’m being honest. We just don’t know.”
Jenson likes Melbourne and it is a bit of a one of circuit so come the end of FP3 Saturday morning we’ll know much more.
Here’s some pictures from the final afternoon session of testing this year.