Jerez Day 2: Button fastest as Mercedes powered teams have upper hand
29 January, 2014
After missing out on doing any running on the first day of Formula 1 testing at Jerez, Jenson Button topped the timing sheets in the Mercedes MP4-29 at the end of the second day of testing in Spain, where Mercedes engine power appears to have the edge over rival Power Unit makers Renault and Ferrari.
Collectively all four Mercedes powered teams amassed 212 laps on the day at a theoretical average of 53 laps per team. With Marussia absent, there were only two Ferrari powered cars in action on the day – Sauber and Ferrari – who between them notched up 100 laps at an average of 50 laps.
But it was the Renault powered teams, including World Champions Red Bull, who have really suffered with only two of the four out on track on day two and the two only managing 19 laps – Caterham with 11 and Red Bull with 8. Toro Rosso were unable to any running at all “because of electrical problems that could not be repaired in time”- the Italian team ditched Ferrari power for Renault this year.
Not a good start to the new Formula 1 era for the French engine builder whom many expected to have the edge with regards to high performance turbo technology.
At the sharp end Button racked up 43 laps and finished the day with the best time of 1:24.165 which he set late in the day on Pirelli Mediums, three seconds up on the best time set on day one, and thankfully faster than a GP2 car has ever been around the former grand prix circuit, albeit six seconds adrift of the best time of 1:18.218 by Romain Grosjean on the same day last year.
Nevertheless Button and the McLaren crew would have been encouraged by their day in southern Spain, as 24 hours earlier they were rushing against time to be ready. Topping the timing screens is perhaps relatively meaningless to most, but on the day it is sure to have given the Woking outfit a mighty boost.
Ferrari enjoyed another fruitful day with Kimi Raikkonen managing 47 laps on his way to setting the second best time of the day, a tad over half second down on Button’s best.
After only completing seven laps a day earlier, Valterri Bottas and Williams will have been relieved add another 35 tours to their tally, and end the day third fastest on the harder Pirelli tyres.
Busiest man out on track was Nico Rosberg who did a whopping 97 laps on his way to setting the fourth fastest lap. Notably, he did a couple of very long trouble free stints during the course of the day.
The team did well to repair the W05 in time for the morning start after it was damaged, the previous day, when a front wing failure caused Lewis Hamilton to crash into the wall at Turn 1.
Sergio Perez was fifth fastest in the Force India, but it was not all plain sailing for the Mexican on the day as the VJM07 stopped out on track, with smoke swirling out the back, shortly before 15:00 local time.
Earlier in the day,just before noon, Esteban Gutierrez prompted the first red flag stoppage when he spun the Sauber and ended up in the gravel. He returned to action and ended the day sixth fastest with 53 laps on his board, but over nine seconds off the top pace.
Marcus Ericsson could only manage to add 11 laps to his single lap he did a day earlier in the Caterham, with Vettel slowest of all in the Red Bull and only managing eight laps, making that a grand total of 11 laps for the world champion over the course of two days in Spain.
Both teams suffering with what was described as a ‘Renault energy [storage]‘ problem.
The day began on a damp track, whereupon Pirelli decided to turn the morning session into a wet test to evaluate the all new Wet tyre which features a different tread and compound to last year’s version.
Day three of testing continues on Thursday.
Jerez Test, Day 2 Lap Times – Wednesday, 29 January 2014