With the second day of testing at Jerez now over, we are halfway through the first of the scheduled pre-season trials and tribulations for the new generation of 2013 machinery. On top of that, we’ve witnessed the debut of some promising new talent.
It was a good day for…
Romain Grosjean, who set a blistering pace and ended the day 0.785 clear of 2nd placed Paul Di Resta who handed his Force India VJM06 over to compatriot James Rossiter late in the afternoon. Grosjean and Lotus demonstrated scintillating pace over both a single lap and a long run distance. The E21 appears to be both quick and reliable which is a good omen for the Frenchman who failed to finish half of his 2012 races.
Sergio Perez enjoyed a similarly quiet day behind the wheel of the MP4-28 for the first time, the young Mexican title-hopeful completing over triple the number of laps achieved by team mate Jenson Button yesterday. He finished the day 7th, 1.364 off of the flying Grosjean but just two-tenths off of the RB9 driven by Mark Webber who once again racked up a full race distance without mishap and continued to show strong long-run pace throughout the day. However, the F1 veteran voiced concerns over an apparent lack of front end grip on his car and BBC analyst Gary Anderson observed it to be a difficult car to recover if it ventured offline.
Although remaining largely anonymous for the best part of the last 48 hours, Daniel Ricciardo finished 3rd after a successful days running in the STR8. The Australian driver clocked up a solid 83 laps without trouble and the new Toro Rosso looks a step forward from last year’s model which failed to bring the progress wanted and needed by them team. That his time was set on the white, harder compound of Pirelli tyre makes his performance all the more impressive.
It was a bad day for…
Mercedes who, after yesterday’s mishaps, needed a full day of testing and were left ashen-faced when Lewis Hamilton buried his F1W04 in the Dry Sac corner tyre wall; a brake pressure failure was later found to be the cause of the accident. The F1W04 has managed just 29 laps in total and despite looking fast in the hands of both Hamilton and team mate Nico Rosberg the fuel load being carried on those laps has (obviously!) not been divulged. While problems are not uncommon in testing, it is worrying to Mercedes that with such limited time available they have already lost two days worth of running.
Williams and Pastor Maldonado continued to run an FW34 configured with 2013 front wing alterations but the team remained far off the pace, 2.5 seconds slower than Lotus. However, they remain adamant that not bringing the FW35 to Jerez was the right decision and have no concerns they will be off the pace by the time the grid forms up in Melbourne.
Marussia also suffered a disappointing and interrupted day. After Max Chilton’s accident yesterday it was left to new signing Luis Razia, confirmed only this morning, to bolster the mileage of the striking new MR02. Sadly for him the car coasted to a halt with an electrical problem in the afternoon and a red flag at the end of the day prevented him taking to the track again.
What of the ‘others’?
Felipe Massa quietly continued to weld the F138 into an efficient fighting machine at Ferrari, the Prancing Horse totalling 78 laps today as the Brazilian made more progress with the balance of the car and reported an improvement over yesterday’s feeling behind the wheel. The Brazilian remains in the garage tomorrow and will be the only driver to compete on three of the four days this week.
Nico Hulkenberg had another solid day in his Sauber C32, although he ran out of fuel just before five o clock and stopped out on the track. Sauber later confirmed this was the result of a test to see how the fuel system holds up to such treatment. Giedo Van Der Garde was also pleased with his running during the day, his speed lending further credence to the belief that Caterham have made significant progress during the winter break. Their success may be short-lived, as rivals including Red Bull and Mercedes have voiced concerns over the legality of the CT03’s Mclaren-style exhaust system.
Jerez testing times in full – 6th February
- Romain Grosjean – FRA – Lotus – 1:18:218
- Paul Di Resta – GBR – Force India – 1:19:003
- Daniel Ricciardo – AUS – Toro Rosso – 1:19:134
- Mark Webber – AUS – Red Bull – 1:19:338
- Nico Hulkenberg – DEU – Sauber – 1:19:502
- Lewis Hamilton – GBR – Mercedes – 1:19:519
- Sergio Perez – MEX – Mclaren – 1:19:572
- Felipe Massa – BRA – Ferrari – 1:19:914
- Pastor Maldonado – VEN – Williams – 1:20:693
- James Rossiter – GBR – Force India – 1:21:273
- Giedo Van Der Garde – NED – Caterham – 1:21:311
- Luiz Razia – BRA – Marussia – 1:23:537
Tomorrow we can look forward to seeing reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel taking on former World Champs Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen, with Felipe Massa again spearheading Ferrari’s test programme. Paul Di Resta will continue his running along with James Rossiter, while Esteban Gutierrez, Jean Eric Vergne and Charles Pic will all make their 2013 debuts. The much anticipated arrival of Valtteri Bottas will also set a few pulses racing among Williams fans as he tackles the circuit in the 2012 FW34.
Full test schedule visible here: https://antfrench.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/jerez-testing-schedule-5th-6th-7th-8th-feb/