Mark Webber exits pit lane at Jerez - Red Bull Racing photoEnlarge Photo
With under 40 days before the start of the 2012 Formula One World Championship, the driver atop the second day of open testing at the Jerez de la Frontera road course in Span was a a familiar one. Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher led all drivers with a best time of 1:18.561 seconds in his 132 laps of pacing, over half a second clear of Mark Webber in the new Red Bull RB8.
Schumacher, as he did yesterday, is testing with a 2011 car and he remarked, "We made the most of a reliable car today to do lots of laps and learn a lot about the new Pirelli tires and how they perform on longer and shorter runs, and with different setup configurations. It was a good and productive test, full of lots of useful information for the season ahead, and I am now looking forward to driving our 2012 car for the first time at the next test."
Again running with 12 cars on the racetrack, Mark Webber recorded the second quickest time of 1:19.184 over his 97 laps in the new RB8. Quickest in the 2012-spec cars out on the track Webber said, "It was pretty good today. I think we're making good progress although, as I keep saying it's still very early days in the concept of the car and we have a lot to get through before we race it. But it's the same for all the teams. I guess we could have done a bit more, but it was positive overall and the conditions were good to test in."
On his second ay driving the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7-01 chassis, Daniel Ricciardo completed another 100 laps to give himself two hundred for the test, his first of the season. Third on the time chart at 1:19.587 Ricciardo said, "I am happy with what we did today; one hundred lapses around twice the distance we did yesterday, so we achieved our aim of getting plenty of lies for me and the car with a mix or short and long runs. We were trying three different tire compounds," he explained "and I also did some practice starts and pit entry tests, just about as much as one can do in one day."
Sahara Force India Formula One Team trusted their new JVM05-02 car to reserve driver Jules Bianchi in the morning stint and he returned 46 laps for a fastest of 1:20.221, fourth on the day. "It was a really good morning and great to get my chance in the new car so early on. There was a lot to get used to, especially the steering wheel and remembering where all the switches are, but it didn't take too long before I felt happy in the car.
"It may only have been half a day," Bianchi added, "but the team asked me to do quite a lot of things and we managed to complete almost 50 laps before lunch. For me this year is all about learning and helping the team as much as I can, so today was important for that and getting to know the team."
Fifth went to yesterday's quick driver Kimi Raikkonen, wringing 117 laps from the E20 Lotus F1 machine with a best of 1:20.239. "We seem to have a good car and I have a positive feeling from this first test," Raikkonen said. "There was a small issue with damage to the floor this morning when I went off and came back onto the circuit; an edge on a kerb caused the damage and we lost some time as it was repaired. Physically I felt fine after 117 laps. Conditions were quite windy on track but despite this I got a better feeling from the car so it's positive progress."
Driving during the afternoon, Paul Di Resta recorded 69 laps in the Sahara Force India VJM05-02 for sixth on the scoring board: 1:20.272. "It was very intense to do 69 laps in just over three hours, which is a really good effort. The wind seemed to get very strong from midday onwards," at this track in southern Span, "which made driving the car very tricky," he said.
Sergio Perez in the C31 - Sauber F1 Team photoEnlarge Photo
Felipe Massa was 7th in 95 laps for Scuderia Ferrari at 1:20.454, followed by Jenson Button's McLaren at 1:20.688 over 85 laps. Sergio Perez had his first laps in the C31 Sauber and recorded the 9th best lap of 1:20.711 as he completed 106 tours of the Jerez circuit. Pastor Maldonado had his first Williams test laps of the year, followed by the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen and finally, Pedro de la Rosa as the caboose once again.
There are two more days of scheduled running and some drivers will switch out for the final two opportunities to test their new - and in some instances - older machines.