Barcelona Day 1: Vettel fastest by far
18 February, 2011
Feb.18 (PVM) Sebastian Vettel ended day one of Barcelona testing more than a second faster than Fernando Alonso as reigning world champions Red Bull flexed their muscles on the opening day in Spain.
The world champion set the time, at the wheel of the RB7, in the final minutes of the day’s testing with new tyres and apparently on low fuel. Alonso ended the day second fastest in the Ferrari F150th Italia after spending most of the day rooted to the top of the timing screens and notching up 101 laps in the process.
The day started out damp and thus any meaningful times were only posted after lunch. Although many predicted that the Barcelona test would be more indicative of true pace, the opening day at Circuit de Catalunya only confused matters more. However the pace of Red Bull’s RB7 will have their rivals scratching their heads.
Jaime Alguersuari at the wheel of the Toro Rosso STR6 ended the day third best ahead of Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber C30, making it three Ferrari powered cars in the top four. Both caused red flag situations with Kobayashi running out of fuel on track and Alguersuari beaching it in the gravel.
Jenson Button was on duty in the McLaren MP4-26 and had a somewhat subdued day, racking up 77 laps and ending with the fifth best time. He was fastest of the Mercedes powered brigade albeit nearly two seconds down on the Renault powered Red Bull at the very top of the timing screens.
Paul di Resta got out on track very late as the Force India team worked on what appeared to be a KERS problem afflicting the VJM04. Nevertheless in the relatively short space of 26 laps he ended the day sixth fastest.
Seventh best was Rubens Barrichello in the Williams FW33 who managed only managed 52 laps after technical gremlins forced a Cosworth engine change and kept the Brazilian side lined for most of the afternoon.
Over three seconds down on Vettel’s best was Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes MGPW02, but it appeared that the seven times world champion was ignoring quick runs and focused on a full race simulation run including race style pit stops.
Four seconds down on the hot pace was Narain Karthikeyan, who was back in action with HRT after missing out on Jerez due to promo filing commitments at Monza with Pirelli. The Indian driver ended the day ninth fastest, with 116 laps to his credit and fastest of the (not so new anymore) teams.
Heikki Kovalainen was tenth best in the Lotus, although 5.6 seconds down on Vettel which is about the time gap between the teams last year.
Racking up a big tally of laps was Jerome D’Ambrosio with 115 laps and the 11th best time of the day.
Renault had a frustrating day after Nick Heidfeld did some early laps before handing over to team mate Vitaly Petrov, upon which a KERS related problem kept the black and gold car indoors most of the day. The two drivers racking up 47 laps between them in the R31. Petrov was 12th fastest while Heidfeld ended the day slowest of all.
Barcelona Day 1 – Best Times
|6||Di Resta||Force India||1.26.575||+2.201||26|