Feb.22 (PVM) Nico Hulkenberg had an impressive and productive day in Barcelona where he racked up over 100 laps around Circuit de Catalunya, in the cockpit of the Force India VJM05, and ended the day fastest of all at the Spanish Grand Prix venue.
The German, who returns to the F1 grid after a year on the sidelines as the team’s reserve driver, set his time during a flurry of quick laps in the morning session and stayed top of the timing screens for the rest of the day.
Hulkenberg’s best time of 1 minute 22.608 seconds was over a half second up on the best time set 24 hours earlier. He completed 112 trouble free laps during the course of the day and in total 209 laps over the two days. He now hands over the VJM05 to team mate Paul di Resta for the final two days.
Like Hulkenberg most drivers set their best times in the morning, concentrating on longer runs in the afternoon.
Second fastest was Sergio Perez in the Sauber C31, who again was the fastest Ferrari powered driver on the day. The Mexican was merely 0.040 seconds down on the Force India, with 85 laps to his credit.
World champion Sebastian Vettel, who topped the timing sheets a day earlier, ended his final day at this test in Barcelona third quickest in the Red Bull RB8. The German and his team were experimenting at length, particularly in the morning where they only clocked up around 30 laps.
There was an interesting period when Vettel was out at the same time as Lewis Hamilton, the pair running nose to tail for a few laps before Vettel passed the McLaren driver who was on a long run.
Hamilton ended up doing 120 laps, more than any other driver and setting the sixth best time on the day.
Ferrari have gone to great lengths to point out that they are on their own mission in Barcelona, not caring what their rivals are up to but rather focused on maximising their understanding of the Ferrari 2012.
Nevertheless Fernando Alonso was one of the few to improve his time in the afternoon to end the day fourth fastest, with 87 laps on his board. The Spaniard was half a second down on Hulkenberg’s best.
Daniel Ricciardo had a strong showing in the morning but drive shaft issues on the Toro Rosso STR7 curtailed his afternoon track time. He finished his two days fifth fastest with 50 laps to his credit.
The much anticipated Mercedes AMG W03 broke cover a day earlier and was probably still being bedded in with Nico Rosberg on duty in the cockpit. No doubt the German also familiarising himself with the new Silver Arrow. He tallied up 82 laps and was seventh on the timing sheets.
Williams reserve driver Valtteri Bottas took over the FW34 cockpit from Bruno Senna and racked up 117 laps in the process. Pastor Maldonado takes over testing duties for the team for the final two days.
Vitaly Petrov was back in action after securing his seat with Caterham between the Jerez test and the current sessions in Barcelona. The Russian did 69 laps in what was essentially a familiarisation day at the wheel of the CT01.
Again racking up an impressive amount of laps, albeit in the 2011 Marussia MVR02, was French rookie Charles Pic who was slowest of all but did have 108 laps to his credit, making 229 laps in two days!
Absent were both the HRT and Lotus teams, with HRT still to crash test their 2012 car and Lotus rushing back to Enstone to rectify a chassis flaw after one day in Spain.
Barcelona Testing Day 2 Results – Wednesday, 22 February 2012