Feb.23 (PVM) It has been a long time since Williams were at the top of any timing screens in Formula 1, and it will no doubt be encouraging and somewhat satisfying – although relatively meaningless – that Pastor Maldonado ended day three of Barcelona F1 testing, at Circuit de Catalunya, with the fastest time of the day.
Maldonado set the best time of 1 minute 22.391 seconds before noon, with the track at it’s very best, on a set of Pirelli super soft tyres. The Venezuelan extracted pace from the Williams FW34 which hitherto was either dormant or hidden, as the car did not give any hint of such speed at Jerez or during the first two days in Barcelona.
Maldonado’s time was also the fastest so far this week around the Spanish Grand Prix venue and almost a second faster than anyone else on the day, with 107 laps to his credit.
Second fastest at the end of the day was Michael Schumacher. Back in the cockpit of the brand new Mercedes AMG W03, he worked hard to rack up 127 laps – more than anyone else has managed in a single day so far. The seven times world champion set his fastest time in the morning session as did most of the others, with the afternoon dedicated to longer runs.
Kamui Kobayashi ended the day one lap shy of 100 and third quickest on the timing sheets in the Ferrari powered Sauber C31.
Also clocking up a substantial mileage was Jenson Button in the McLaren MP4-27, who ended the day fourth fastest after 114 laps on the charts. He spent most of the afternoon doing setup runs in a dozen lap bursts.
Toro Rosso rookie Jean Eric Vergne was fifth fastest, ahead of Felipe Massa in the Ferrari F2012 and Mark Webber in the Red Bull RB8 – the latter two sharing identical times of 1 minute 24.771 seconds on the final timing sheets.
Paul di Resta in the Force India VJM05, the car that Nico Hulkenberg used to set the pace on the second day, was eighth fastest.
Timo Glock was back in action for the first time this year,albeit in the 2011 Marussia MVR02, having missed out on Jerez testing. He was ninth fastest with 108 laps to his credit.
Slowest of all was Caterham new boy Vitaly Petrov who racked up a useful 70 laps on his second day in the CT01, but was over four seconds down on Maldonado’s best.
If anything, day three in Barcelona was an example of how topsy turvy and perhaps even meaningless testing times can be, particularly at this stage of proceedings – however there is no doubt that Maldonado would rather be sitting pretty at the top of the timing sheets, than down the bottom where Petrov languishes.
Barcelona Testing Day 3 Results – Thursday, 23 February 2012
|2||Schumacher||Mercedes AMG W03||1.23.384||+0.993||127|
|5||Vergne||Toro Rosso STR7||1.24.433||+2.042||78|
|7||Webber||Red Bull RB8||1.24.771||+2.380||97|
|8||Di Resta||Force India VJM05||1.25.646||+3.255||83|