Romain Grosjean ended his two day stint at Jerez by setting the fastest time of the second day of Formula 1 pre-season testing, at the wheel of the Lotus E21 which he will now hand over to Kimi Raikkonen for the next two days.
Grosjean’s best time of 1.18.218 was half a second up on Jenson Button’s best, set 24 hours earlier, and a quarter second quicker than the best time set, on day two, at the same venue last year. The Frenchman racked up 95 laps during the course of the day.
It will be encouraging for the Enstone squad that Grosjean was fastest both in the morning and the afternoon. He stopped out on track with a minutes before the chequered flag waved to end the day’s action.
Grosjean summed up his day, “I’m very happy with today’s performance. The pace looks good and we haven’t had any issues with reliability meaning we could complete all of our programme without interruption. We focused on learning more about the 2013 Pirelli tyres and ran with the soft, medium and hard compounds with a variety of different set-ups, both mechanical and aerodynamic, to understand how they react.
The Force India VJM06 continued to show impressive pace in the hands of Paul di Resta. The team set the goal of being competitive ‘out the box’ with their new car and it appears that it is mission accomplished. Di Resta ended the day with 95 laps on the chart, his best time 0.785 seconds down on the top time of the day.
Daniel Ricciardo showed handy pace on his final day in the STR8 at Jerez, ending third fastest with 83 laps to his credit. He will hand over the cockpit to teammate Jean Eric Vergne for the final two days.
The Red Bull RB9, with Mark Webber at the wheel, clocked up 101 laps which was more than any of his rivals on the day, on his way to setting the fourth best time. Interestingly last year Heikki Kovalainen racked up a whopping 139 laps on the second day of testing.
One short of 100 laps was Nico Hulkenberg in his final stint of the Jerez stanza, in the Sauber C32. He also stopped out on track in the dying minutes of the day’s proceedings. He was fifth fastest.
It was a frustrating and short-lived first day at the wheel of the Mercedes W04 for Lewis Hamilton, who only managed 15 laps in the morning before apparent brake failure caused the car to travel, out of control, straight across the gravel runoff at turn six, the notorious Dry Sack corner.
“Lewis suffered a loss of rear brake pressure, the front brakes enabled him to slow the car but he couldn’t avoid the barrier. We have traced the problem to the hydraulic brake line connecting to the right-rear caliper,” explained the team.
With Nico Rosberg suffering electrical problems a day earlier, the Silver Arrows have only managed to rack up 26 laps over the two days.
“We had a failure with one of the brake pipes and so when I hit the brakes they didn’t work and I just went straight on,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News. “It was pretty heavy but it wasn’t as bad as I have had in the past.”
Shortly before the incident Hamilton was lapping at the sharp end of the timing screens, and his best of 1.19.519 was good enough for second at the time. He ended the day sixth best.
“I only had fourteen laps, and six of those were installations, but I got a run on the new tyres and had a great feeling for the car and I’ve been able to give the team quite a lot of feedback despite it only being a short run,” declared the 2008 world champion.
In Hamilton’s old team, Sergio Perez made a subdued debut as a McLaren driver as he plugged into the ‘Woking system’ on his way to setting the seventh best time of the day in the MP4-28, which was under a second off teammate Jenson Button’s best the previous day.
Further down than expected were Ferrari with Felipe Massa in the cockpit of the F138. The Brazilian was eighth on the timing sheets, 1.696 off Grosjean’s best time, almost the exact same difference they were on day one off Button’s best time. Massa did 78 laps on the day.
The Maranello team explained on their website: “The Scuderia engineers are not bothered about lap times, preferring to concentrate on getting on with items on the job sheet, so as to plan the work for the remaining two days.”
Next up, ninth fastest, was the Pastor Maldonado in last year’s Williams FW-34.
With an hour or so to spare Force India sent out their simulator driver James Rossiter to sample the VJM06 and he was able to set the 10th best time within the 19 laps he managed to circulate in the late afternoon.
Giedo van der Garde completed his second day in the cockpit of the Caterham CT03 on his way to setting the 11th best time, while Marussia new boy Luiz Razia did 31 laps before engine problems brought an early end to his day. He was slowest of all.
Testing continues for the third an penultimate day tomorrow. (GP247)
Jerez Testing Day 2 Results – Wednesday, 6 February 2013
|2||P.Di Resta||Force India||1.19.003||+0.785||95|
|11||G.Van der Garde||Caterham||1.21.311||+3.093||88|
|Lotus & Sauber||16h58||–h–|