Sebastian Vettel tops day one in Barcelona test

© Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel topped the opening day of the second pre-season F1 test at Barcelona.

The reigning world champion completed seventy-nine laps in the new-for-2012 RB8, set a quickest lap of 1:23.265 in the process.

The Red Bull crew gave up some time following lunch to complete some necessary set-up changes; however despite the loss of track time, the team appeared confident with several new development parts brought for the car.

Nico Hulkenberg completed tyre comparison work with both the medium and hard compound Pirelli’s, aerodynamic sweeps and several long runs in the Force India VJM05, registering ninety-seven laps in all. The German continued to build confidence during what was only his second day in the machine.

Lewis Hamilton broke a century of laps, with his McLaren team collecting data for new tyres on short runs, before moving onto longer stints in the afternoon.
Daniel Ricciardo logged seventy-six laps in the Toro Rosso STR7, until a technical issue ended the day an hour early for the Italian team.
Fernando Alonso toured the Circuit de Catalunya on seventy-five occasions as the Ferrari squad endeavour to solve some of the balance issues discovered at the Jerez test two weeks ago.

Mercedes enjoyed a smooth day in the new F1 W03 machine. Michael Schumacher completed fifty-one laps until a hydraulic issue sidelined the veteran.
Sauber were also hampered by some technical issues with their rear anti-roll bar, necessitating the removal of the gearbox, pinning Sergio Perez to sixty-six laps.

At Williams, Bruno Senna set ninety-seven amidst a detailed aero correlation test and set-up work, as the Grove team ran through the available tyre compounds.
It was a less fruitful day for Heikki Kovalainen in the Caterham CT01. The Finn suffered a rear track rod failure in the morning, leaving the Anglo-Malaysian team garage-bound until well into the afternoon.

Even that was better than the disaster suffered by Lotus. After registering just seven laps, the E20 was pulled for the rest of the week, with the team citing chassis problems.
There were no such issues for Charles Pic and the Marussia team, who set one hundred and twenty-one tours of the circuit. Pic was behind the wheel of the 2011 Virgin, as he conducted tyre tests while acclimatising to his new found environment.

Pos  Driver         Team            Time                Laps
 1.  Vettel         Red Bull        1m23.265s           79
 2.  Hulkenberg     Force India     1m23.440s  +0.175   97
 3.  Hamilton       McLaren         1m23.590s  +0.325   114
 4.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso      1m23.618s  +0.353   76
 5.  Alonso         Ferrari         1m24.100s  +0.835   75
 6.  Schumacher     Mercedes        1m24.150s  +0.885   51
 7.  Perez          Sauber          1m24.219s  +0.954   66
 8.  Senna          Williams        1m25.711s  +2.446   97
 9.  Kovalainen     Caterham        1m26.035s  +2.770   31
10.  Grosjean       Lotus           1m26.809s  +3.544    7
11.  Pic            Marussia        1m28.026s  +4.761   121

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