Romain Grosjean was the fastest driver on Day Two of the final pre-season test in Barcelona today, matching the result that the Lotus driver achieved yesterday.
The French driver was over half-a-second faster than the time he set yesterday, which was also good enough to top the timesheets at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Jean-Eric Vergne, of Toro Rosso, was set to record the quickest time of the day, but was pipped in the final moments by Grosjean. The French rookie, however, completed only 45 laps on a frustrating day.
The start to this second day in Barcelona was delayed by fog, and there were a number of hold-ups throughout the day thanks to various red-flag incidents.
Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, but was only a tenth faster than fourth-placed man Fernando Alonso who, with 125 laps completed, notched up more mileage than any other driver today.
Heikki Kovalainen put in an impressive time for Caterham, finishing the day in a solid fifth place.
Kamui Kobayashi was six for Sauber, Nico Hulkenberg seventh for Force India, and Michael Schumacher eighth at Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton was reasonably upbeat at McLaren, despite finishing eighth on the timesheets and completing only 65 laps.
The two Williams drivers finished the day bottom of the timesheets, with Bruno Senna, who ran after lunch, setting a faster time than team-mate Pastor Maldonado.
Barcelona Test II, Day Two: Unofficial Times
|2||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:23.126||45|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:23.361||85|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:23.893||36|
Barcelona Test II, Day Two: Driver and Team Quotes
Romain Grosjean: “I'm very happy with the car, and it was great that we could still run strongly at the end of the session, even after a long stint. At the start of the day we suffered slightly with tyre degradation, but we changed a few things and this improved as the day went on. Today was the first race distance I've completed in a long time and I'm feeling pretty good. No doubt my neck will be a little sore tomorrow, but the rest of me is fine!”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “All in all it's been a good day. The E20 was once again very reliable, and we completed a lot of laps. Romain wasn't particularly happy with the car first thing this morning, but we steadily improved it over the day. In the afternoon we completed a full race distance including pit stops. We then went for a couple of setup runs at the end as we had a bit of time left over which was an unexpected surprise. Tyre performance looks good; in particular during the last stint we used a set of hard tyres and managed around 27 laps with very low levels of degradation which is encouraging.”
Jean-Eric Vergne: “Of course it is a shame my winter testing ended with a less than satisfactory day, with not so many laps completed. However, yesterday we did a lot of running and the team still has two more days here with Daniel and I believe we can therefore make up for lost time. The day was not a complete wash-out, as we got some useful data in the morning and did yet more pit stop practices this afternoon. Since Jerez, the team and I have worked very hard to get me as ready as possible for the season and now, I'm looking forward to taking part in my first ever Grand Prix when the championship starts in Australia.”
Daniel Ricciardo takes over testing duties at Toro Rosso for the final two days of the Barcelona test.
Sebastian Vettel: “It was quite a messy day because of the fog and there were quite a lot of red flags out there so it was hard to get into a good rhythm. We had our own stoppage on the circuit, but it was no problem. It's never nice to stop but we brought the car back and it wasn't a big problem. We didn't fulfil the programme entirely but I think we are heading in a good way.
“I have one more day to go and so far testing has gone pretty well. Not perfect of course, it never is, but all in all I feel quite happy in the car. It's more or less what we expected and hopefully we'll have another two good days to prepare for the first race.
“The last couple of days of testing are always quite important as you always bring a few new things and it's much closer to the car you will race in Melbourne, so we'll see if that works out and hopefully we'll be able to make another small step forward before the first.”
Guillaume Rocquelin, Sebastian's Race Engineer: “The fog this morning wasn't ideal but the circuit was very good in giving everybody an extension and we did get a decent amount of laps in. However, even when the session did get going it was a fairly choppy start as there were a lot of red flags and as Sebastian said it was difficult to find a rhythm.
“But Seb got through most of the programme, which today was just background testing stuff, we weren't focusing on performance at all. There are a lot of boxes we need to tick to go racing and we got quite a few done today.”
Pat Fry, Technical Director: “We ran a mix of used Softs and Mediums for the simulation and now we must analyse the data in detail to understand where we are compared to the others. Initial impressions suggest the difference between one stint and another can be put down to the normal difference between tyres that have done different mileages: some show significant degradation, others less.”
“There will be other new components coming on the car for the final two days and then we will try and put together the best from every configuration for the first race.”
“We started off with an exhaust system configuration that was particularly aggressive, but after last week's test, it was clear this solution still required a lot of development before it could be used in a race. We opted for a more conventional configuration. Obviously, having developed the car to suit this innovative exhaust concept, now we must re-optimise everything in just the few days left before Australia. There aren't major differences between the two systems in terms of performance, but we really need to analyse everything in detail.”
Heikki Kovalainen: “I'm pleased with how today has gone. I'm still not quite 100% after a bit of food poisoning kept me away from the track yesterday, but I'm pretty much over it and the way today has gone is good news. We keep going in the right direction and seem to have put the little issues that were holding us up behind us and the number of laps we've now run means I'm starting to be able to fine tune the setup and find a balance I'm really happy with. There's still more to come in outright pace and we'll work more on that tomorrow, but I think we can say this has been another good day for the whole team.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “Once again a very productive day. Heikki was running a very similar program to Vitaly's plan yesterday with tyre evaluation this morning and long runs with high fuel in the afternoon and with 104 laps completed we managed to run through the whole plan. We are clearly making progress and what is particularly encouraging is that we know there is still more to come.”
Kamui Kobayashi: “I am pretty happy with the car and its handling under race conditions. We wanted to improve compared to the last test, and we clearly did that. Obviously we couldn't do everything we had on our programme, but I think we can compensate for that. We still have two days of testing left and I'm very much looking forward to being in the car again on Sunday. Of course it is too early to know where we are compared to the others, but the feeling is good.”
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “With regard to our lap times, we are quite happy with today's achievements. In terms of running through our programme, we have been a bit unlucky. For us today the red flags always came out at the wrong time. But this is how it goes, and we have also had days when interruptions didn't do us any harm.
“However, today it was difficult to find a good rhythm, and then later on we lost more than an hour due to an hydraulic leak. The fact that we had to remove the gear box to fix it was very time consuming. Overall we gained some good experience with the car, and there is still more to be learnt about it.”
Sergio Perez returns to testing duties for Sauber tomorrow before Kobayashi returns on Sunday.
Nico Hulkenberg: “The day started well with some set-up work and new tyres runs, but we had some downtime in the afternoon, which limited my mileage. It's a bit frustrating, but we've had a pretty good winter so far and it's nothing to worry about. I've got one more day in the car before we travel to Melbourne, so I will try to make the most of it and carry out a full race simulation.”
Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer: “It hasn't been the most straightforward day as we lost most of the afternoon session with a driveline issue. The plan had been to attempt a race distance, so we will need to reschedule this for tomorrow when Paul is back in the car. Fortunately we had a productive morning when Nico carried out some new tyre appraisals of the hard and medium compounds, and we also ran through our race weekend procedures.”
Paul di Resta will be back in the Force India tomorrow, before Nico Hulkenberg finishes the test on Sunday.
Michael Schumacher: “The start of our day was something of a struggle this morning, partly down to me as well, and it seemed as if the afternoon might start that way also. Fortunately the session turned out well, and we achieved all of the test items that we wanted. So in the end, it was a positive day, but we will only see later how we stand compared to the other teams.”
Nico Rosberg returns to the car tomorrow, before Schumacher takes over testing duties on Sunday, the final day of the test.
Lewis Hamilton: “Today was all about testing set-up. It was a good day: we learned quite a lot and improved a few things. We didn't get a lot of mileage, as we had a lot of downtime inbetween changes.
“Our car feels better set-up wise, we still haven't added the new aero package – so I think we'll get a better picture of what the car will be like in Australia over the next two days. But I definitely feel like we have a competitive car.
“This year's winter testing has been way better than last year. I've not had any problems, we've ironed out a lot of issues and I feel very comfortable. I'm fit and ready for Melbourne.”
Jenson Button will be in the McLaren tomorrow.
Pastor Maldonado: “Our focus today was on pitstop practice, which is important to do before we get into a live race situation. Getting a clean, fast pitstop involves a combination of factors from both the team and driver. From my side, I have to position the car correctly in the box, get a good pull away from the stop and make sure I have clean in- and out-laps. We are trying many different things to improve all of these areas.”
Bruno Senna: “This afternoon was great as we did a lot of practice to understand our pitstop performance as a team. It is very important to practice as you come in at 100kph, the speed you would do on a motorway, and jump into a space just the size of the car. There is a lot of time to be made, and races can be decided by pitstops. I think we've really improved our performance today. I'm now looking forward to doing some stops in a race, and to being quick and precise when the pressure is on.”
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: “Today the team concentrated on practicing our pit stops, completing 68 mostly in- and out-laps to get the drivers and pit crew used to the new equipment and procedures. Pastor’s morning session was compromised with an engine-related problem which, although easy to rectify, took some time to identify. Bruno’s running in the afternoon was trouble free.”
Bruno Senna will be in the Williams tomorrow.