Barcelona Day 1: Vettel fastest by far

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain, Friday 18 February 2011.

Sebastian Vettel in action on day one of testing in Barcelona

Feb.18 (PVM) Sebastian Vettel ended day one of Barcelona testing more than a second faster than Fernando Alonso as reigning world champions Red Bull flexed their muscles on the opening day in Spain.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain,  Friday 18 February 2011.

Hey what you looking at? Sebastian in Barcelona

The world champion set the time, at the wheel of the RB7, in the final minutes of the day’s testing with new tyres and apparently on low fuel. Alonso ended the day second fastest in the Ferrari F150th Italia after spending most of the day rooted to the top of the timing screens and notching up 101 laps in the process.

The day started out damp and thus any meaningful times were only posted after lunch. Although many predicted that the Barcelona test would be more indicative of true pace, the opening day at Circuit de Catalunya only confused matters more. However the pace of Red Bull’s RB7 will have their rivals scratching their heads.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F150th. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain,  Friday 18 February 2011.

Fernando Alonso ended the day second fastest

Jaime Alguersuari at the wheel of the Toro Rosso STR6 ended the day third best ahead of Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber C30, making it three Ferrari powered cars in the top four. Both caused red flag situations with Kobayashi running out of fuel on track and Alguersuari beaching it in the gravel.

Jenson Button was on duty in the McLaren MP4-26 and had a somewhat subdued day, racking up 77 laps and ending with the fifth best time. He was fastest of the Mercedes powered brigade albeit nearly two seconds down on the Renault powered Red Bull at the very top of the timing screens.

Paul di Resta got out on track very late as the Force India team worked on what appeared to be a KERS problem afflicting the VJM04. Nevertheless in the relatively short space of 26 laps he ended the day sixth fastest.

Jaime Alguersuari (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain,  Friday 18 February 2011.

Jaime Alguersuari had a good day on home soil

Seventh best was Rubens Barrichello in the Williams FW33 who managed only managed 52 laps after technical gremlins forced a Cosworth engine change and kept the Brazilian side lined for most of the afternoon.

Over three seconds down on Vettel’s best was Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes MGPW02, but it appeared that the seven times world champion was ignoring quick runs and focused on a full race simulation run including race style pit stops.

Four seconds down on the hot pace was Narain Karthikeyan, who was back in action with HRT after missing out on Jerez due to promo filing commitments at Monza with Pirelli. The Indian driver ended the day ninth fastest, with 116 laps to his credit and fastest of the (not so new anymore) teams.

Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRTF1. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain,  Friday 18 February 2011.

Narain Karthikeyan was back and best of the "new" team drivers

Heikki Kovalainen was tenth best in the Lotus, although 5.6 seconds down on Vettel which is about the time gap between the teams last year.

Racking up a big tally of laps was Jerome D’Ambrosio with 115 laps and the 11th best time of the day.

Renault had a frustrating day after Nick Heidfeld did some early laps before handing over to team mate Vitaly Petrov, upon which a KERS related problem kept the black and gold car indoors most of the day. The two drivers racking up 47 laps between them in the R31. Petrov was 12th fastest while Heidfeld ended the day slowest of all.

Barcelona Day 1 – Best Times

P Drivers Teams Times Diff L
1 Vettel Red Bull 1.24.374 37
2 Alonso Ferrari 1.25.485 +1.111 101
3 Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1.26.638 +1.264 57
4 Kobayashi Sauber 1.25.641 +1.267 78
5 Button McLaren 1.26.365 +1.991 77
6 Di Resta Force India 1.26.575 +2.201 26
7 Barrichello Williams 1.26.912 +2.538 52
8 Schumacher Mercedes 1.27.512 +3.138 90
9 Karthikeyan HRT 1.28.393 +4.019 116
10 Kovalainen Team Lotus 1.30.065 +5.691 54
11 D’Ambrosio Virgin 1.30.950 +6.576 115
12 Petrov Renault 1.35.174 +10.800 20
13 Heidfeld Renault 1.44.324 +19.950 27
  • Twiinz

    The most interesting thing about the day is that HRT and Virgin were reliable enough to put up 116 and 115 laps respectively.

  • robust

    low fuel sprint ,not for testing but for the advertisements gain

  • Twiinz

    Last year at Barcelona the GP lap times were in the 1:20 to 1:21 range. They were about 2-3 seconds slower in testing at that track in the 2010 preseason. Based on today’s times, I assume the cars will run about 2 seconds slower at this year’s GP. The lack of the double diffusers and using new tires is most likely the culprit.

  • Twiinz

    @ Robust, the RBR Team is on some kind of PR campaign to be in the news daily. Last week Webber made a crack about Schumi’s time. Then Vettel makes a statement about Ferrari, before the team follows up the next day with a poke at Ferrari hiring veterans. Today Vettel pops up with a quick time. I wonder what they will do tomorrow? Gotta love the F1 preseason publicity stunts. :)

  • robust

    ohh yes twiinz

  • Zulkifli

    Vettel sucks.. and so did RBR

  • Atul

    What’s with HRT’s livery?
    They were supposed to put on their new colours which they had shown digitally.

  • Editor

    The car being used is the old 2010 car. The new livery will probably be seen on the new car which is only due out next month…