Official testing for the 2013 Formula One season is underway at various race tracks around Spain, with most teams now at the Circuit De Catalunya, just outside of Barcelona.
It was local favorite Fernando Alonso quickest at the end of the most recent session, with his new Ferrari F138 responding well to the conditions.
The Scuderia’s schedule so far has gone without a hitch.
Its star driver, who was able to test Pirelli’s soft tires for the first time this year, along with the hards, covered a total of 97 laps, with his quickest coming in at just 1.21.875.
Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa is just starting his test session in Barcelona, though he already showed much promise at the previous test session in Jerez. Like Alonso, Massa’s program was focused on a comparison of the various compounds supplied by Pirelli.
The second fastest in Barcelona was Nico Hulkenberg, who completed 91 laps in his Sauber C32 and posted a best time of 1:22.160.
He was followed by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, who posted a best time of 1:22.188 after 119 laps. Lotus’ other driver, Kimi Raikkonen, has also been quick during the tests.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel appeared unstoppable early on, though his test session in Barcelona had to end early after his new Red Bull Racing RB9 suffered some reliability issues. The triple world champion was upbeat though, happy that the issues were occurring now instead of during the first race in Australia.
During his earlier test session in Jerez, Mark Webber was one of the quickest, leaving the Aussie greatly encouraged ahead of his seventh season with Red Bull Racing. He hasn’t been so impressive in Barcelona, but he has plenty of more laps planned.
Red Bull Racing during testing for the 2013 Formula One season
His team-mate Nico Rosberg has also done well, coming in fourth fastest at the end of testing in Barcelona.
Jenson Button of McLaren hasn’t been able to show the pace he’s known for, managing only the seventh-fastest time at the end of the most recent session in Barcelona. Newcomer Sergio Perez is off to a great start, however, posting the fastest time in one of the sessions.
Teams still have a few more days of practice next week before it’s time to make preparations for the long flight to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix in mid-March.