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Sauber's Kobayashi On Top As F1 Testing Concludes At Barcelona


Kamui Kobayashi - Sauber F1 Team photo

Kamui Kobayashi - Sauber F1 Team photo

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Formula One testing at Circuit de Catalunya concluded on Friday with Sauber F1 Team atop the standings. There were only nine cars on the track today after Marussia experienced a rear suspension failure they were unable to properly trace, leaving Charles Pic a spectator.

Kamui Kobayashi completed his two-day test session in the C31.02/Ferrari 056 Sauber with the best time of the four-day test of 1:22.312; he completed 145 laps on another warm and sunny day in southern Spain.  Kobayashi worked on his qualifying setups in the late morning and then did longer runs in the afternoon in anticipation of the racing season.

"We achieved a very good mileage today," the Japanese driver said. "The setup changes we did in the morning meant an improvement in lap times which, of course, is very positive. There is still a lot of work to do in terms of understanding the car and the different tire compounds at different fuel levels, but we are working in the direct direction - I think it was a good test for us," he said.

Second place went to Thursday's quick driver Pastor Maldonado, hustling the Williams FW34 over 134 laps for a best of 1:22.561; his quickest lap on Thursday gave Maldonado the aggregate second-best time of 1:22.391; Maldonado completed a total of 240 laps. "We have gathered a prodigious amount of data over more than 3500kms of testing," said Mark Gillan, chief operations engineer at Williams. "Now we can regroup back at the factory to understand how to further improve the setup and development direction ahead of the next Barcelona test."

Paul Di Resta - Photo courtesy Sahara Force India Formula 1 Team

Paul Di Resta - Photo courtesy Sahara Force India Formula 1 Team

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Paul di Resta recovered from a difficult Thursday to take third place today, completing 101 laps in the Sahara Force India VJM05-02 for a best of 1:23.119. "It was a good way to end the week. I had a small trip through the gravel in the morning," di Resta admitted, "but nothing that caused too much of an issue - although we lost half an hour of running. I cold feel the changes we made compared to yesterday and it's given me a good impression of the car's balance and consistency. We've seen that our long run pace is improving step by step," he said.

Jenson Button was fourth in the McLaren MP4-27 today, running 115 laps for a top of 1:23.563. "Today was spent completing some of the fundamental tests we don't normally get the opportunity to do at race weekends. We also used the time to continue tire testing and complete a number of reliability prove-outs," said David Redding, team manager.

Felipe Massa continued to run the Ferrari F2012 mid-pack and was fifth after 103 laps, posting 1:23.563. Mark Webber took the RB8 to sixth spot, performing 85 laps and tracking 1:23.774. "We have a lot of work to do back in Milton Keynes over the next few days," Webber said, "to get the car ready for the next test. Today we got through a lot of stuff, testing a lot of elements. Everything worked well, especially since we had such a big program. We gathered a lot of good information today and that's a pleasing way to finish the week."

Jean-Eric Vergne was seventh for Scuderia Toro Rosso, Nico Rosberg was eighth for Mercedes AMG and Heikki Kovalainen was the caboose for Caterham in ninth.

The aggregate for the four days of Barcelona testing showed 22 total driver/car combinations with Kobayashi, Maldonado, Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), Sergio Perez for Sauber and Sebastian Vettel as the top five, all under 1:23 in lap times. Di Resta, Fernando Alonso, Button, Michael Schumacher and Massa completed the top ten over these four days with all times unofficial.
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