FEBRUARY 20, 2011
Rosberg tops mixed conditions day in Barcelona
Nico Rosberg (1:23.168) topped the third day of Barcelona testing. The track was damp for much of the morning following overnight rain, and Rosberg's programme was restricted to several exploratory runs to gain experience of the Pirelli intermediate tyre.
Conditions improved for the start of the afternoon session when Rosberg continued his familiarisation with the KERS system in conjunction with set-up comparisons over longer runs to further develop the team's understanding of car and tyre behaviour. His day concluded with qualifying simulations, including operation of KERS and the adjustable rear wing.
"Our long runs in the afternoon included some aero work in preparation for our next upgrade package before going into lower-fuel, new-tyre running at the end of the day. We made good progress in understanding the car and the tyres, and the reliability was solid once again. Overall, I've enjoyed two positive and productive days."
Second quickest, three tenths slower, was Vitaly Petrov with the new Renault R31. "We used the intermediates to begin with and it was one of our first opportunities to do a lot of laps with them. The only issue we had was warming them up because it was very cold early on."
Lewis Hamilton (1:23.858) was third quickest with the new McLaren MP4-26.
The morning was spent focusing on shorter runs, with some brief downtime shortly before lunch to correct a minor mechanical issue. In the afternoon, Hamilton conducted longer runs, evaluating tyre behaviour over the course of a stint.
"We focused on trying to complete as many laps as possible, improve reliability and understand the Pirelli tyres. We're learning more and more about them every day. We've had a few technical issues with this car but the guys have been working to rectify them. To get more than 90 laps under my belt today was a big positive."
Pastor Maldonado (1:24.815) took the new Williams FW33 round fourth fastest, reporting a good day despite an alternator problem early on.
Mark Webber (1:24.995) was fifth quickest with the Red Bull RB7, running 139 laps, more than anyone else as the team tried to mirror Sebsatian Vettel's Saturday programme. "We had a lot of rain overnight and it did upset our plans for Mark today," explained head of race engineering, Ian Morgan. "The conditions in the morning meant we couldn't do a P3 or qualifying simulation, but it did allow Mark to get some running on the intermediate tyres, which was useful as he hasn't had that opportunity before.
"In the afternoon, with the track dry, we got down to the race simulation and got through that with absolutely no problems, which is always encouraging. It was a shame Mark didn't get to do a qualifying simulation but it was a pretty productive day otherwise, with some time on inters and the full race in the afternoon, so we're happy enough."
Jarno Trulli (1:25.454) was sixth quickest with the new Lotus and said, the team's running limited to just 48 laps by a cracked water pipe but Trulli reporting a good feeling about the car.
Sergio Perez recorded 1:25.557 with the Sauber-Ferrari, ahead of Adrian Sutil's Force India VJM04 (1:25.720), Sebastian Buemi's Toro Rosso (1:26.155) and Felipe Massa (1:26.508) who had a couple of off-track excursions with the Ferrari 150th Italia. The test concludes tomorrow with the final pre-season scheduled test in Bahrain still hanging in the balance as a result of the recent disruption in the country.