Formula 1 Pre-Season Testing (Barcelona, March 10th)

Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Sergio Perez topped the third day of testing at Circuit de Catalunya today.

There are those that will say that testing times are irrelevant as one can rarely tell what fuel loads are being run and this may well yet be another case of such an situation. Admittedly, Perez’s quickest lap (1:21.761) came at the end of a Q3 simulation on the super-soft tyres, however the day was not all positive for the Swiss team.
An afternoon race simulation was halted after only six laps, when the C30 suffered a powertrain failure, leaving Sauber’s 2011 charger garage bound for a time.

Felipe Massa had no such issues. The Brazilian took part in a programme comparing various aerodynamic parts and configurations, before assuming race length duties after lunch. By the chequered flag, Massa had completed 132 laps, with a best some three-tenths slower than Perez.
For the first time this week, a Red Bull did not top the charts; however Mark Webber still registered a solid 97 laps in the untried third chassis, registering a best lap of 1:22.466 to place him 3rd in the standings.
Rubens Barrichello had something of a mixed day though. The Brazilian finished the day 4th following a series of aerodynamic mapping checks, but suffered from two separate car failures; although it is thought the faults were due to high wear rate.

At Mercedes, Michael Schumacher took to the wheel of the MGP-W02. The seven-time World Champion took in 89 laps of the Barcelona circuit, as the German continued with set-up work, while trying the recent upgrade package for the first time.
Renault, meanwhile, ran both Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov today. Heidfeld claimed 6th on the timesheets, with Petrov in 8th, although neither set a blistering number of laps. Heidfeld completed just 32 tours, as the team concentrated on set-up work and other evaluations; however Petrov’s day was blighted by a KERS failure during the morning running.
Also on track with both race drivers were Team Lotus. Heikki Kovalainen ran during the afternoon, eventually splitting the Renault pair with a best of 1:23.990 as the team worked on various programmes.
Things, however, did not progress so well for Jarno Trulli. The Italian finished bottom of the timing sheets after only completing six laps. Trulli’s tough day started with a gearbox failure not long after the green lights, followed by a water leak shortly afterward.

Adrian Sutil had more luck than Trulli at the wheel of his new Force India machine. The German driver ran 108 laps in the VJM-04, as the Silverstone based squad prepared several programmes aimed at testing new aerodynamic configurations. His best lap of 1:24.334 came during a qualifying stint in the morning.
Toro Rosso ran through various length race simulations and pitstop practices with young Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari fronting the STR6. Alguersuari completed 107 laps with no issues, with the headline grabbing pace of the previous two days forsaken.

A fuel pressure problem did not get in the way of Jerome d’Ambrosio completing 96 laps in his MVR-02. The Belgian pilot has been taking advantage of the illness of his teammate, Timo Glock, to get a large number of laps under his belt. Several long stints left d’Ambrosio 5.57 seconds down on Perez.
Hispania Racing did not run today.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car              Time       Gap        Laps
 1.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari        1m21.761s             95
 2.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1m22.092s  + 0.331s   132
 3.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m22.466s  + 0.705s   97
 4.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m22.637s  + 0.876s   105
 5.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1m22.892s  + 1.131s   89
 6.  Nick Heidfeld       Renault               1m23.541s  + 1.780s   32
 7.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1m23.990s  + 2.229s   40
 8.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               1m24.233s  + 2.472s   24
 9.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m24.334s  + 2.573s   108
10.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m24.779s  + 3.018s   107
11.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1m27.336s  + 5.575s   96
12.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Renault         1m34.485s  + 12.724s  6

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