Formula 1 Pre-Season Testing (Valencia, February 2nd)

Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit.

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

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