Romain Grosjean took advantage of much improved conditions on Day Two of the F1 test in Mugello to set a the fastest lap of the day, a 1:21.603.
Kamui Kobayashi matched that time exactly in the closing moments of today, but it is Grosjean who sits atop the timesheets this evening, by virtue of his Lotus being the first to set that time.
“It’s always good to end the day on top, but we have to remember that in testing lap times mean very little,” said Grosjean, not getting carried away by the result of just one day of testing. “Having said that,” he added, “the car felt great and I was very comfortable from the start.”
Grosjean completed 97 laps today, almost double the amount that any runner managed in the changeable conditions that dominated proceedings on Day One.
Third on the timesheets, behind Kobayashi, was the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. The current world champion took over testing duties for the team from team-mate Mark Webber after lunch.
Webber, who had the RB8 for the morning, finished the day two-tenths of a second behind Vettel, and fourth fastest overall.
Felipe Massa was fifth for Ferrari. The Brazilian managed to complete 106 laps today, but tomorrow will be handing the F2012 back to team-mate Fernando Alonso, who set the fastest lap yesterday.
The two Toro Rosso drivers sit sixth and seventh on the timesheets, with Jean-Eric Vergne having the edge over Daniel Ricciardo in terms of both lap time and laps completed today. Vergne was evaluating different exhaust systems, a task which over-ran into the afternoon. This meant that Ricciardo could only do two short runs towards the end of the day, but he will have the car to himself on the final day of the test tomorrow.
Michael Schumacher put in more mileage than any other driver today, which made up for the paultry amount of running he could do yesterday after that heavy afternoon downpour. He completed 144 laps, and finished the day eighth on the timesheets. The seven-time world champion was delighted to complete more laps of Mugello, a track he knows exceptionally well from the endless miles of testing he did in his Ferrari days.
Charles Pic impressed for Marussia in ninth place, whilst his team-mate, Timo Glock, was over half-a-second slower and finished the day twelfth. However, the German had to content with a power-steering problem, which limited him to 37 laps this afternoon. He will be back in the car tomorrow, hoping for better luck on the reliability front.
Vitaly Petrov put in a good shift for Caterham in tenth place. The Russian completed 112 laps and was pleased with the progress the team made today.
Gary Paffett had the McLaren to himself today, but his afternoon was cut short by a gearbox problem. After a day of focusing on aero correlation and tyre performance, the Brit found himself eleventh fastest.
It was not a good day for Paul di Resta though. The Scot managed just 14 laps as the team were forced to combat a number of reliability problems throughout the day. Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg will be hoping for better luck as he takes over testing duties tomorrow.
And Bruno Senna finished the day bottom of the timesheets. However, with a cenutry of laps under his belt, and much of the Williams scheduled test programme completed, the Brazilian was happy with his days efforts.
- See the full list of times from Day Two in Mugello here.