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Formula 1 Pre-season Testing (Barcelona, February 20th)

February 21, 2011

Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

On the penultimate day of running at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Mercedes pilot, Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets ahead of Renault’s Vitaly Petrov.

The track, which started out very damp, took several hours to completely dry up as overcast and cool weather slowed the changeover to dry conditions; however it did give the field an opportunity to test Pirelli’s intermediate tyre compounds. Although Rosberg used the afternoon to complete some long distance runs, the German driver set out on several qualifying simulations just prior to the chequered flag. His time of 1:23.168 was the best during his 92 lap day.
Petrov meanwhile registered 93 tours of the Barcelona complex, with a best just 0.3 of-a-second shy of Rosberg. The Russian had a trouble-free run as the team assessed different exhaust specifications on the R31.

Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a day evaluating the new Pirelli tyres over both short and long distances. The 2008 World Champion notched up 93 laps on a day when no problems occurred.
Pastor Maldonado lined-up 4th on the final standings, just behind Hamilton; however the best the new Williams driver could manage was one second shy of the McLaren ace. The Venezuelan suffered something of a quiet morning as first a spin and then an alternator failure sidelined him.
Maldonado’s quickest lap of 1:24.815 was enough to keep him ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber. The Australian completed an astonishing 139 laps yesterday, during which Webber found himself committed to a race simulation, although thoughts of a qualifying simulation were lost to the morning dampness.

Lotus had another so-so day. Although Jarno Trulli set the 6th quickest time, the Norfolk-based squad only managed 45 laps, mainly due to lost time fixing a water leak; however when running the Italian maintained some consistent laps in the T128.
Sergio Perez took over from Kamui Kobayashi at Sauber in a day that saw the Mexican notch up 115 tours of the circuit. Like many of the days participants, Perez ran a race simulation; however the Swiss team concentrated on evaluating the hard and medium compound tyres.
Adrian Sutil ended yesterday 8th on the timing sheets as he completed some 102 laps. The Force India team concentrated on set-up aligned to tyre compounds, as well as working on set-ups taking the new drag reduction system into account.

The Toro Rosso team split their running between both Sebastien Buemi and reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo. Buemi took to the STR7 during the afternoon, allowing the Swiss driver to set quick laps, while evaluating aerodynamic settings. Ricciardo, however, was on track during the morning’s changeable conditions, giving the Australian an opportunity to test the Toro Rosso to overlap from wet to dry tyres. Come the chequered flag, Buemi set a best of 1:26.155 (9th, 31 laps), while Ricciardo’s quickest lap under the morphing conditions was 1:28.329 (13th, 42 laps).
Felipe Massa rounded out the top-ten with a lap 3.34 seconds down on Rosberg; however the Brazilian spent his day in the F150th completing race distances. Massa completed 123 laps by the close of day – a good deal more than Timo Glock in the Virgin or either Hispania tester for that matter.

Glock still did an impressive number though, as he clocked up 97 laps in his MVR-02 with a best of 1:26.598 – the German suffered no apparent problems. Hispania Racing split their day between race driver Narain Karthikeyan (14th, 32 laps) and one-time Minardi test driver Giorgio Mondini (12th, 39 laps). Karthikeyan took to the F110 during the morning, although a gearbox issue cut the Indian’s track time short; however Karthikeyan set a best lap of 1:30.722.
Mondini’s afternoon session was his first time in a Formula 1 car since 2006, while he has not raced at all for two years, making his afternoon run quite impressive. While it is unknown what Mondini’s fuel levels were; however the Italian suffered no problems as he ran through various tyre compounds.

Today marks the final day of testing in Barcelona. At this point, it is still unknown as to where the next test will take place as a trip to Bahrain currently looks untenable.

Pos  Driver              Team/car              Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1m23.168s            92
 2.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               1m23.463s  + 0.295s  93
 3.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1m23.858s  + 0.690s  93
 4.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth     1m24.815s  + 1.647s  60
 5.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m24.995s  + 1.827s  139
 6.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Renault         1m25.454s  + 2.286s  48
 7.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari        1m25.557s  + 2.389s  115
 8.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m25.720s  + 2.552s  102
 9.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m26.155s  + 2.987s  31
10.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1m26.508s  + 3.340s  123
11.  Timo Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1m26.598s  + 3.430s  97
12.  Giorgio Mondini     Hispania-Cosworth     1m28.178s  + 5.010s  39
13.  Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m28.329s  + 5.161s  42
14.  Narain Karthikeyan  Hispania-Cosworth     1m30.722s  + 7.554s  32
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