Fernando Alonso upped the testing ante today, as he headed the order in Valencia.
The Ferrari man registered 108 laps – only three short of the day’s busiest runner Paul di Resta – and clocked up a best of 1:13.307 in the process.
Alonso was a comfortable three-tenths faster than the next driver, Sebastian Vettel; however the German only managed 43 laps throughout the second day.
Vettel’s Australian teammate, Mark Webber, finally got to take to the new RB7 this afternoon, but problems during the installation run limited Webber’s running to 17 tours of the Spanish course. Webber secured the 14th fastest lap, but more running tomorrow should hopefully see him further up the timesheets.
Force India’s long running di Resta was next up with a 1:13.844 in last year’s VJM03 machine and he was followed by the Mercedes-powered McLaren, piloted by 2008 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton (1:14.353).
Hamilton, who was also in an interim 2010-car, completed a solid 83 laps. Renault’s Robert Kubica was the third driver to break a century of laps. The Pole clocked up the 5th fastest time in the new R31 machine, some 1.1 seconds slower than Alonso’s pace.
Narain Karthikeyan raised some late-afternoon eyebrows with the 6th fastest lap in the 2010 Hispania racer. Although the Indian completed 80 laps, it would not be a shock to discover the Spanish car would be shy of fuel.
Several years ago, it would not have been a surprise to see several back of the grid teams run on empty to claim not only glory laps, but the attention of the untrained or unwary sponsor. While that practice has become somewhat rarer nowadays, Karthikeyan’s mysterious pace in an old, slow and barely-sponsored car points to old ways that have not fully died down.
A team not running on fumes for the sake of sponsorship dollars is Mercedes. Following a tough day yesterday blighted by hydraulic problems, Nico Rosberg completed 69 laps, with a fastest 1.33 seconds down on the fast Ferrari. Timo Glock took over the 2010 Virgin car from Jerome d’Ambrosio and placed his Cosworth-powered runner 8th, over half-a-second quicker of the Williams of Rubens Barrichello (9th) and Sergio Perez in the Sauber (10th).
Sadly for Perez, the Mexican only notched up 42 laps before the power train gave way. Barrichello ran 50 laps before handing his Williams over to new teammate Pastor Maldonado, who in turn registered 29 tours and an 11th fastest time of 1:16.266.
Next were the Toro Rosso pair of Sebastian Buemi (12th, 1:16.359) and Jaime Alguersuari (13th, 1:13.474) – the young guns split the STR6 between them.
Last on the sheets was Heikki Kovalainen in his Lotus T128 – unfortunately the Finn could not set a representative time and only managed 15 laps due to a power steering failure.
The test continues tomorrow morning.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Alonso Ferrari 1m13.307s 108 2. Vettel Red Bull Renault 1m13.614s +0.307 43 3. Di Resta Force India Mercedes 1m13.844s +0.537 111 * 4. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 1m14.353s +1.046 83 * 5. Kubica Renault 1m14.412s +1.105 104 6. Karthikeyan HRT Cosworth 1m14.472s +1.165 80 * 7. Rosberg Mercedes 1m14.645s +1.338 69 8. Glock Virgin Cosworth 1m15.408s +2.101 34 * 9. Barrichello Williams Cosworth 1m16.023s +2.716 51 10. Perez Sauber Ferrari 1m16.198s +2.891 42 11. Maldonado Williams Cosworth 1m16.266s +2.959 29 12. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 1m16.359s +3.052 46 13. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari 1m16.474s +3.167 64 14. Webber Red Bull Renault 1m17.365s +4.058 17 15. Kovalainen Lotus Renault 1m20.649s +7.342 15 * 2010 car All Timing Unofficial