Vettel still on top in Barcelona

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel 

 © The Cahier Archive

World champion Sebastian Vettel (1:23.315) topped the second day of F1 testing at Barcelona and put another 104 laps on the new Red Bull RB7.

With race team personnel in attendance, Red Bull aimed to get through simulations of a race weekend -- P3, qualifying session and a race.

Head of Race Engineering, Ian Morgan, said: "Generally it was good today and we got through almost everything we wanted to. We had a few small problems, such as an issue with a heat shield. But that's why we do these tests, to iron out any little problems, and generally the simulations went well." Mark Webber takes over on day three, when the team will run a similar programme although the weather is forecast to deteriorate.

Jaime Alguersuari (1:23.519) took the honours as fastest Spaniard with the Toro Rosso STR06, from Fernando Alonso's Ferrari (1:23.9780). Alguersuari tried three of the four Pirelli compounds - hard, soft and supersoft - again working on car set-up to suit each one, and will hand over to reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo tomorrow.

Alonso completed fewer laps than the average managed by Ferrari so far but still did 90 before an electrical problem and then a mechanical issue intervened, which meant the team did not get through its entire planned programme.

Rubens Barrichello (1:24.008) made up lost time on the opening day and completed 118 laps to put the new Williams FW33 fourth quickest. Technical director Sam Michael said: "It has been another good day of running concentrating on KERS, setup work, long runs and starts, and we've had no mechanical issues. Most of the parts on the car now have done quite a few miles so we're pushing into that zone where you can have high mileage failures. We need to do it now though to avoid failures on race weekends. We're learning more about the Pirelli tyres and how to extract the most out of them - there's definitely going to be some tricks to that this year! Right now the rate of performance development is high for all teams, so it's not possible to put any real indicator on pace order."

Fifth quickest was Nick Heidfeld (1:24.242) driving a Renault R31 fitted with revisions to the water system that solved problems the team experienced in Jerez. "The balance of the car was not as good as it was in Jerez, " the German said, "but we did improve things by the end of the day. We lost a bit of time at the start of the afternoon, but when I did get out we did some useful work including new tyre runs, data collection and some work on the car's systems. But we still need lots more mileage because there are a lot of things on our job list to try, especially for the set-up."‚Ä® ‚Ä®

Kamui Kobayashi (1:24.243) did 125 laps with the Sauber C30, technical director James Key explaining: "It was a case of working through some programmes to understand more about the tyres. Barcelona is a good track to get a handle on tyres, but the cold conditions this morning made it a little tricky with high wear on the front tyres, although this was probably not unique to us. We ran through a race set up programme this morning using all three compounds - hard, medium and soft - to get an overview of the longevity of their performance. In the afternoon we worked on the set-up and used a new package to improve mechanical grip, and this looks okay. We also worked with the different compounds, but this time with set-up changes between them to understand better their one lap performance."

Nico Rosberg (1:24.730) was in action at the wheel of the Mercedes W02, completing further acclimatisation work with the KERS system, alongside set-up comparisons and aerodynamic evaluations and the team's second full race simulation of this week's test.

Jenson Button (1:24.923) was hampered by a hydraulics failure to his McLaren MP4-26 after just a handful of laps of aero-mapping, costing him the majority of the morning's track-time. A similar failure towards the end of the day also brought an early end to proceedings. "We're not doing as many laps as we'd like," Button said, "so we're a little behind some of the other teams, which is a bit of a disadvantage, but that's something we're addressing. Over the next two days, hopefully our reliability will be better, and we'll be fully equipped with spare parts. Mileage not only helps reliability, but it's also useful for set-up work. It's difficult to balance the car with the front wing when you're trying a variety of tyre compounds and fuel loads. And it's taken a bit of a time, especially at a circuit like this, where getting the aero balance right is important. There's a lot more performance still to come from this car - now we just need some proper mileage to see what it can do."

Paul Di Resta's Force India (1:25.194) and Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus (1:26.421) completed the top 10.

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