Formula 1 Pre-Season Testing (Barcelona, March 11th)

Circuit de Catalunya.

Seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher topped the fourth day of testing at Barcelona.

The 42-year-old completed 67 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya, setting a best of 1:21.268 during a qualifying simulation; however the Mercedes veteran also took in a number of aerodynamic evaluations during the day.

Schumacher’s teammate, Nico Rosberg, had a small amount of running yesterday. As Schumacher completed his work, Rosberg took to the track with an hour remaining to register 22 laps and 3rd position on the timing screens.
With rain forecast in Barcelona for today’s session, the team felt it necessary to give Rosberg some running at least.
Fernando Alonso split the silver cars in his Ferrari 150º Italia. The Spaniard completed 141 laps as he ran various upgraded aerodynamic components and a race simulation.

Renault ran with Nick Heidfeld yesterday, picking up 4th on the time sheets, while the team concentrated on high fuel runs, with work on achieving a nominal balance with the new Pirelli tyres a premium. There were plans to run a race simulation, however an afternoon gearbox change put paid to those plans.
Williams ran both of their race drivers yesterday, with Rubens Barrichello placing his FW33 5th in the final standings. The Brazilian had a solid day, but teammate pastor Maldonado suffered thanks to an oil leak just prior to his afternoon stint. The English squad have suffered from numerous reliability problems during this test and Maldonado’s lack track time (11 laps in the end) only served to add to their woes.
Kamui Kobayashi had only slightly better luck in his Sauber C30. The Japanese driver took on 98 laps in Barcelona, interrupted somewhat by a driveshaft problem.

Toro Rosso completed a programme testing aerodynamic parts, followed by race set-up configurations, all of which appeared to satisfy the Italian squad. With Jaime Alguersuari at the wheel, the STR6 finished the day 7th, some 1.407 seconds down on Schumacher.
Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel placed his 2011 Red Bull charger 8th on the timing sheets following a 64 lap day. The team completed some final preparations before they head to Australia having done more testing this year than they have ever done in the short existence.

Lotus had a busy day as Heikki Kovalainen completed a double-race test. The Finn notched up 138 laps, with a best of 1:23.437 as the T128 once again showed itself to be quite a reliable machine.
Both Force India drivers took to the track yesterday, completing just over a race distance between them, with Adrian Sutil running in the morning (11th, 26 laps) and Paul di Resta in the afternoon (10th, 42 laps). Meanwhile the team fine-tuned several aerodynamic parts and can take some positives thanks to some solid reliability.
Jenson Button lined up 13th on the time sheets in his McLaren MP4-26, as the team decided to forego outright pace during their 57 lap session. The team ran several pitstop practices as well a number of aerodynamic tests using high-visibility flow paint.

Jerome d’Ambrosio completed Virgin’s final testing with a 46 lap run, taking in further tyre evaluations. The Belgian’s best lap was some 6.107 seconds off Schumacher’s pace. but for d’Ambrosio, the opportunity to get in a full week of testing was something that could not miss.
Unfortunately Hispania Racing cannot now run this week at all, thanks to certain parts of the car being held up in customs. The team’s shakedown will now be in practice for the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car              Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1m21.268s            67
 2.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1m21.614s  + 0.346s  141
 3.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1m21.788s  + 0.520s  22
 4.  Nick Heidfeld       Renault               1m22.073s  + 0.805s  67
 5.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m22.233s  + 0.965s  89
 6.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1m22.315s  + 1.047s  98
 7.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m22.675s  + 1.407s  72
 8.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1m22.933s  + 1.665s  64
 9.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1m23.437s  + 2.169s  138
10.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m23.653s  + 2.385s  42
11.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m23.921s  + 2.653s  26
12.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth     1m24.108s  + 2.840s  11
13.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m25.837s  + 4.569s  57
14.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1m27.375s  + 6.107s  46

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