FEBRUARY 11, 2011
Schumacher quickest at Jerez
Michael Schumacher (1:20.352) topped the testing times in Jerez today as he took over Mercedes duties from Nico Rosberg.
Schumacher ran with the Mercedes KERS operational throughout the day in order to familiarise himself with the system, the team focusing on system
checks with shorter runs in the early part of the day, then moving on to set-up and tyre evaluation work with the medium and super soft Pirelli compounds over longer runs.
"It was clearly a productive day and obviously I'm happy about that," Schumacher said. "We are moving forward but at the same time we are aware we have to keep pushing."
Having topped the first day's times, Felipe Massa (1:20.413) was second quickest for Ferrari, concentrating on longer runs in the afternoon and putting another 116 laps on the Scuderia's newly renamed F150th Italia. Fernando Alonso takes over tomorrow.
At McLaren, Jenson Button (1:21.009) had his first experience of the MP4-26 and ended the day third quickest.
"The morning was spent getting me satisfactorily fitted in the car, adapting to the KERS - which is new to me - and getting used to how the system works," Button said. " I like the power boost it gives you and I felt a lot more comfortable with the car at the end of the day after we'd played around with a few things in the cockpit. We've made some good progress."
Renowned to be one of F1's smoothest drivers, Button said of the new Pirelli tyres: "There are big differences across the compound range, not only in terms of lap time, but also with degradation and durability. It's going to be fun for racing, I think, and it's what everyone wanted. The TV viewers will certainly know the differences between the tyres. It's been a good first day and on Sunday I hope we can start to have a crack at seeing what the car really has in it." Lewis Hamilton returns to the McLaren cockpit tomorrow.
Jaime Alguersuari (1:21.214) had the Toro Rosso to himself after sharing the cockpit with Daniel Ricciardo yesterday. "I tried all tyre compounds except the supersoft and had a good feeling from the car with all of them, getting an idea of their different behaviour," the Spaniard said. "I also made progress in terms of using the KERS and the downforce reduction system, which does not look as complicated as I expected. It's still a bit too early to start drawing conclusions, especially as the lap times here vary a lot from the morning to afternoon, but I'm reasonably confident that the car's progress is on the right track."
Mark Webber (1:21.613) put another 113 laps on Red Bull's new RB7, testing new aero components and concentrating on long runs."
Just behind Webber was Adrian Sutil (1:21.780) with the new Force India, ahead of Sergio Perez (1:21.857), who lost the last couple of hours after crashing the new Sauber C30 when he lost the back end on hard tyres at Turn 7.
"These things happen and are part of the learning process," said Sauber's James Key. "Overall Sergio made a good step forward. It was a busy day up to the accident. We have tested chassis set-up directions and were cycling through a number of set-up scans on the car and with the tyres to get further mechanical directions. After we only used three sets of tyres yesterday, we were able to use new sets more often this morning. We did a run through from the hard to the super soft compounds. We had no warm up issues with the medium and hard compounds, but we believe we should get more out of the softer ones. Compounds, however, will change. We checked the car after Sergio's incident, found nothing wrong and will be ready to continue tomorrow."
Timo Glock (1:22.208) continued Virgin's work and finished up just ahead of Vitaly Petrov (1:22.493) with the new Renault. "We weren't worried about lap times and instead we focused on tyres," the Russian explained. "We also did aero mapping in the morning and then spent a lot of time working on the brakes and the KERS. Unfortunately we lost some time with a water leak, which meant we could not do a planned race distance in the afternoon. After three days in the R31 I'm only just starting to feel really comfortable and in the last two hours we found some good things with the set-up."
Nick Heidfeld tomorrow has his first opportunity to stake a claim to the Renault seat vacated by Robert Kubica's untimely rallying accident.
Pastor Maldonado (1:22.591) had more early testing bugs with the new Williams FW33, as technical director Sam Michael explained: "The day started well, then late morning we had a warning message on the KERS battery. That required us to strip the battery to check if there was a problem or if we just had a sensor error - fortunately it was the latter. That cost us three and a half hours. Despite that, we made some really useful progress understanding the car's aero characteristics with the setup changes we ran in the morning. We started this afternoon with a long run but went off at T4, the high speed left hander." That ended the day's activity for the team.
Team Lotus also had its programme interrupted when Jarno Trulli (1:23.216) was halted by a mechanical problem at the front end after 40 laps. With spares on the way out from England, Heikki Kovalainen is hoping to get a full day's mileage when he takes over tomorrow.