Sergio Perez signaled his arrival as a McLaren driver by topping the timing sheets at the end of the second day of Formula 1 preseason testing at Circuit de Catalunya, in what was his final stint this week in the MP4-28 which he now hands over to teammate Jenson Button.
Perez has been somewhat subdued during his sessions thus far as a McLaren driver, acclimatising himself to the environment in his new team and getting used to the cockpit workspace which he is now using. But about half an hour after lunch the Mexican bolted on a set of soft Pirelli tyres, and proceeded to scorch around the Spanish Grand Prix venue in a time 1:21.848 which was good enough to remain top of the timing screens until the end of the day. No better way to end his two day stint at the wheel and also send a warning signal to his rivals.
The time was almost a second better than the previous day’s fastest lap and 0.349 second up on next best Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull RB9.
The world champion spent most of the early part of the day glued to the top of the timing screens, and dedicated the afternoon to race simulation runs. The RB8 caused the first of two stoppages when it coasted to a halt just after the exit of the pit lane late in the afternoon. Nevertheless Vettel rejoined to see out the session and completed 84 laps on his second day in action.
A gearbox change on the Lotus E21 meant that Kimi Raikkonen only ran seriously in the afternoon – he left the pits at 15.17 pm. Despite this the 2007 world champion managed to rack up 43 laps in the few hours at his disposal, albeit less than anyone else, on his way to setting the third fastest time. He was 0.849 seconds down on the pace setter.
Raikkonen summed up his frustrating day, “If yesterday wasn’t an ideal day then today was more of the same. Fortunately, once we were able to get a lap in we could see that the car has good pace. We test to find any problems so in that respect we’re doing a good job, but it’s frustrating”
Lewis Hamilton was back in the Mercedes W04 cockpit determined to get mileage into the Silver Arrows after Nico Rosberg’s 54 lap effort a day earlier. Hamilton ended up doing more than double as he notched up 110 tours of the Barcelona circuit, which also happened to be more than anyone else on the day. He was fourth fastest, fractionally down on Raikkonen and almost a second off Perez’s best.
“We had a good day today and it was nice to get so many laps in. We’re making continual steps forward in terms of our understanding of the set-up and the tyres. We’re focusing on our own programme and just getting on with it,” said Hamilton at the end of the day.
Fifth fastest was Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F138, with 76 laps to his credit but well over a second down on the top time.
Making his debut in the new, and controversial, Williams FW35 was rookie Valtteri Bottas ending the day sixth fastest and with 98 laps on his chart.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh best with 70 laps in the Toro Rosso STR8, followed by Paul di Resta with 62 laps in the Force India VJM06 and Nico Hulkenberg ninth in the Sauber C32 with 88 laps ticked off.
Marussia ‘won’ the battle of the minnows with Max Chilton 10th in the MR02 with 67 laps, and Charles Pic slowest of all again, as he was 24 hours earlier, in the Caterham CT03.
Chilton stopped on track at the very end of the session bringing out the final red flag stoppage of the day. The track remained closed after the Marussia was recovered. (GP247)
Barcelona Test Day 2, Best Lap Times – Wednesday, 20 February 2013
|2||S.Vettel||Red Bull RB9||1.22.197||+0.349||84|
|7||D.Ricciardo||Toro Rosso STR8||1.23.718||+1.870||70|
|8||P.Di Resta||Force India VJM06||1.23.971||+2.123||62|