Kubica ends Valencia F1 testing on high note
3 February, 2011
Feb.3 (PVM) Robert Kubica showed that his team’s innovative Renault R31 could well be a contender after topping the timing sheets at the end of the third and final day of Formula 1 testing in Valencia.
The Pole set a best time of minute 13.144 seconds which was faster than anyone has gone around the Ricardo Tormo Circuit on the first three days of 2011 F1 testing. He also notched up 96 laps during the course of the final day.
The R31 sporting side airpod forward exhausts had been thre subject of much discussion and attention since it was unveiled on Monday. Three days later Kubica may well have given the F1 world a glimpse of the black and gold car’s potential.
The Lotus Cars backed team only did seriously fast running late in the day but was soon setting the pace by being first driver in the 73 second bracket after a flurry of flying laps. The final hour was dedicated to a lengthier run.
Next best was Adrian Sutil who ended the day second quickest in a revised version of last year’s Force India VJM03. The German racked up the most laps in the process with 117 on the counter.
Jenson Button was back from vacation and ended the day third fastest in last year’s McLaren Mercedes MP4-25 interim car. Although sources suggest that the new car borrows very little from the car used in Valencia.
Next up was the second best new car, the Red Bull RB7, in the hands of Mark Webber focusing on medium lap runs and setting impressive times when on these. Fourth best for the Australian, one suspected, was not all he had in reserve.
An oil leak caused a fire in the back of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari F150 early on in the day – see pictures and report here. The team repaired the car and he was back out in the afternoon, racking up 80 laps and setting the fifth best time.
Again the “new teams” showed impressive pace, which eluded them all of last year. Timo Glock ended the day sixth fastest in the year old Virgin Racing VR01, only a second off the top times.
Pastor Maldonado did some long stints early on in the day where he set some impressive times in the Williams FW33. The Venezuelan did 101 laps on his way to setting the seventh best time and ending the day fastest rookie.
Fellow South American rookie Sergio Perez was eighth best with 104 laps to his credit.
Ninth fastest was Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes MGPW02. He managed 110 laps but at the end of the day was 1.4 seconds off Kubica’s best and slowest of the Mercedes powered trio.
Tenth fastest was Sebastien Buemi who spent his day familiarizing himself with the new STR6 by doing short half dozen lap runs. He did 73 laps in total.
Narain Karthikeyan who stunned the establishment with a lap in the 74 seconds zone on day two, was a little more subdued on the final day posting the 11th fastest time after 63 laps.
Bottom of the table with no time despite doing 35 out laps was Jarno Trulli in the Team Lotus T128 without power steering. The team will stay on an extra day in Valencia, as they missed the first day, confident that they will have the steering sorted.
Thus ended the first official pre-2011 season Formula 1 testing at Valencia. If anything can be surmised it is that there are at least three teams with pretty decent cars, namely Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault.
At this stage of proceedings Mercedes GP are seriously lagging behind their rivals, while the new offerings from McLaren and Force India are eagerly awaited.
Oh yes and where did HRT and Virgin Racing find the kind of pace they sorely lacked last year? This writer is mystified…
Valencia Day 3 – Best lap times
|2||A.Sutil||Force India VJM03||1.13.201||+0.057||117|
|4||M.Webber||Red Bull RB7||1.13.936||+0.792||105|
|10||S.Buemi||Toro Rosso STR6||1.14.801||+1.657||73|
|12||J.Trulli||Team Lotus T128||-.–.—||+-.—||35|