Seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher topped today’s running at the Jerez.
The Mercedes driver registered a speedy run of 1:20.352 at the beginning of a 10-lap run, leaving the famous German 0.061 of-a-second quicker than Ferrari pilot, Felipe Massa. However, Schumacher’s fast laps appeared to be spikes rather than indications of consistent pace from his MGP-W02 machine.
Completing 112 laps, Schumacher may also take some satisfaction that he suffered none of the hydraulic problems that have blighted teammate Nico Rosberg in testing thus far. Massa, meanwhile, managed 116 laps throughout the day, clocking up steadier times in the 2011 Ferrari.
That left the Brazilian over six-tenths ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button, although the British team spent part of the day completing systems checks on their new entry, before letting Button out on circuit. The 2009 World Champion held an advantage of 0.2 of-a-second over Jaime Alguersuari. Running in the STR6, Alguersuari logged 72 laps, managing to keep a rather steady pace throughout his stints.
In the big sister car, Mark Webber notched up the 5th best time in his Red Bull. The Australian secured a best lap of 1:21.613; however it was in the long runs that Webber impressed as he set decent times over 15-19 laps stints.
Next up was Adrian Sutil. The Force India driver racked up 73 laps with a quickest of 1:21.780, giving the German less than a one-tenth advantage over 7th best man, Sergio Perez. After showing up near the top of the pile yesterday, the Mexican could do no better than 1:21.857 – a time that may be more representative of the Sauber’s actual pace. Perez ended his session early by crashing in turn 7, destroying the left-front suspension of his Sauber C30.
Renault’s Vitaly Petrov had an unspectacular day, although his day was punctured somewhat by causing one the opening red flag of the day with a spin. The Russian finished 2.1 seconds off of Schumacher’s pace, although that was quick enough to pip the Williams of Pastor Maldonado by 0.098 of-a-second. Having lost a lot of time yesterday and today due to car problems, Maldonado caused further difficulties for his Williams team by stuffing his FW33 into the turn 4 barriers.
Lotus’ Jarno Trulli filled out the order, 2.86 seconds shy of Schumacher; however the day ended early for the Italian due to mechanical issues.
Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps 1. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m20.352s 112 2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m20.413s + 0.061s 116 3. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.009s + 0.657s 69 4. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m21.214s + 0.862s 72 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.613s + 1.261s 113 6. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m21.780s + 1.428s 73 7. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m21.857s + 1.505s 56 8. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m22.208s + 1.856s 57 9. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m22.493s + 2.141s 65 10. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m22.591s + 2.239s 38 11. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m23.216s + 2.864s 40