Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Schumacher quickest but Webber fastest of 2012 cars

Michael Schumacher is fastest in Day Two of the Jerez test, albeit in the 2011 car.

Michael Schumacher was the fastest man in the second day of testing at Jerez, but of the 2012 runners, Mark Webber set the quickest time for Red Bull, with him and his team looking in good form on Day Two, as he was faster than Kimi Raikkonen's time yesterday.

Schumacher was fastest today, in the 2011 car
Schumacher's set a time of 1.18.561, which was the fastest by six tenths of a second. The German was driving the MGP W02 though, Mercedes' 2011 car, so it is difficult to say just how relevant his pace was. The seven time world champion did over 100 laps during the 8 hour test, as he went over a second quicker than Kimi Raikkonen's time from yesterday. Raikkonen completed another full day in the Lotus E20, but didn't have the pace of the previous day, as he only managed fifth place with his car. He had a minor off in the morning, skidding into a gravel trap at the Dry Sac hairpin, at the end of Jerez's long straight in the E20. But he continued his programme, running a longer stint in the afternoon and ending the day fifth having logged well over 100 laps. Raikkonen had another off track moment with just a few minutes of the session left. However the most impressive of anyone was Mark Webber. The Australian set consistently fast lap times, as he headed the field from the off, being well ahead of the other 2012 cars. Webber was more than four tenths faster than the man in third, his compatriot Daniel Ricciardo. Ricciardo, who is driving for Toro Rosso, was third after setting exactly 100 laps in the STR7. Jean-Eric Vergne has his first run in the car tomorrow.

Jules Bianchi in the Force India
Force India ran both Paul di Resta and their official reserve driver Jules Bianchi in the VJM05 today. Bianchi, who was Ferrari's reserve driver before becoming Force India's earlier this month, was fourth fastest, with an impressive day's work culminating in a 1.20.221 after 46 laps. The Frenchman then handed the car over to Di Resta, who ended the day sixth, just five hunderedths of a second behind Bianchi. Felipe Massa endured another disappointing day in the Ferrari, getting a 1.20.454 to take him seventh fastest. However, he was off the case all day, a few tenths down on his eventual time, before pushing hard to improve at the end of the session. Despite the late improvement, Ferrari continued to play down the importance of lap times, saying "the stopwatch means relatively nothing today". Jenson Button was also off the pace in the McLaren MP4-27, ending the day in eighth place, three tenths behind Massa's Ferrari. Both teams emphasised that they were more interested in learning about their new cars and the 2012 tyres than setting hot times. Sergio Perez took over from Kamui Kobayashi today, and ended the day ninth for Sauber. Pastor Maldonado was tenth for Williams, while Heikki Kovalainen had a good day for Caterham. Kovalainen used KERS in the car for the first time, and drove an impressive 139 laps during the day. Caterham's new reserve driver Giedo Van Der Garde takes over tomorrow. Pedro de la Rosa, in the 2011 HRT, was slowest again.

Tomorrow World Champion Sebastian Vettel drives the Red Bull, while Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will take over at McLaren and Ferrari. HRT will not be at the test tomorrow having completed their planned two day run.

The times in full:
Michael Schumacher
Mark Webber
Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo
Toro Rosso
Jules Bianchi
Force India
Kimi Raikkonen
Paul di Resta
Force India
Felipe Massa
Jenson Button
Sergio Perez
Pastor Maldonado
Heikki Kovalainen
Pedro de la Rosa

*2011 Car

Keep with my blog for all the opinions, launches and testing updates throughout the winter, as we count down to the Australian Grand Prix.

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