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Kobayashi tops the time sheets on day four of F1 test at Barcelona

February 26, 2012

© Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Kamui Kobayashi ran quickest on the final day of the second pre-season F1 test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

The Japanese driver registered a best of 1:22.312 during a qualifying simulation on soft tyres just prior to the break for lunch.

Several short stints in the morning helped solve several issues, allowing the team to close in on an optimum set-up for qualifying. With 144 laps in the bag, it was certainly a busy day for Kobayashi, who moved on to longer runs and race preparation in the afternoon.

After a positive Thursday, Williams continued with race simulations and set-up work on Friday, allowing Pastor Maldonado to log 134 laps in the FW34. The team have covered an impressive amount of mileage over the tests – approximately 3500kms – leaving Williams with plenty of data to analyse prior to the final test in Barcelona in March.
Force India’s Paul di Resta endured a small trip through the gravel in the morning; however little time was lost in the aftermath. The Scot still managed to break the century barrier, registering 101 laps by the end of day, with di Resta providing the team with positive thoughts regarding the balance and consistency of the VJM05 around Barcelona’s high-speed / high aero layout.

McLaren used the final day to complete several fundamental tests on the MP4-27, as well as numerous tyre runs. With Jenson Button at the wheel, the team set 115 laps on the final day.
Felipe Massa completed set-up evaluations on the Ferrari F2012, while the team also conducted several back-to-back tests of the various Pirelli tyre compounds.
Red Bull spent Friday completing a series of development programmes with the RB8, resulting in a number of short stints for driver Mark Webber, both on the track and in the garage.
Like sister-team Red Bull, Toro Rosso spent the final day completing several development programmes with Jean-Eric Vergne behind the wheel of the STR7. While the team delighted in the mile garnered, Formula 1 rookie Vergne also took great confidence from the test, as he continues to bed himself into the team.

Mercedes spent part of the morning completing pit stop practice at Barcelona – a vital component of any race weekend – before moving on to race simulations. This included race stints on the harder compounds (morning) and Pirelli’s soft tyres (afternoon), allowing Nico Rosberg to log 139 laps in the F1 W03 machine. The final stage of the day was dedicated to set-up comparisons. Due to their later launch, there may be much work still to be done at Mercedes.
A small electrical issue hampered Caterham’s efforts in the morning, leading to an engine change, limiting Heikki Kovalainen to “only” 70 laps. The team spent the afternoon running high-fiel stints, during which Kovalainen set his best lap time. Caterham have a day’s worth of aero testing next week before the final sessions in Barcelona.
A damaged suspension component meant Marussia’s MVR-02 machine only completed two installations laps, before calling it a day. With no apparent information as to how the problem developed, the team decided not to send Charles Pic out on track, concentrating instead on solving the issue at hand. Marussia will introduce their 2012 machine at the final test at Barcelona.

Pos  Driver         Team            Time                Laps
  1.  Kobayashi      Sauber          1m22.312s           144
  2.  Maldonado      Williams        1m22.561s  +0.249   134
  3.  Di Resta       Force India     1m23.119s  +0.807   101
  4.  Button         McLaren         1m23.200s  +0.888   115
  5.  Massa          Ferrari         1m23.563s  +1.251   103
  6.  Webber         Red Bull        1m23.774s  +1.462   85
  7.  Vergne         Toro Rosso      1m23.792s  +1.480   92
  8.  Rosberg        Mercedes        1m23.843s  +1.531   139
  9.  Kovalainen     Caterham        1m26.968s  +4.656   70
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