Sergio Perez showed that pre-season testing is in full swing today by going fastest on the second day at Barcelona with a time just shy of last year’s pole position, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
Perez and Vettel both set their times during a one-lap run on the soft tyre, before switching their attentions to extended stints in the afternoon. Whilst Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton behind set their fastest laps on the medium and hard compound respectively, with Hamilton’s lap in particular likely to make the other teams raise an eyebrow as it was set during an eight lap run.
Vettel began the day quickly, leading the field by half a second at lunch time after his series of short runs on the soft tyre. In the afternoon Red Bull set their sights on a race simulation, which was cut short as Vettel brought out the red-flags when exiting the pits to complete the second half of the stint.
Raikkonen said yesterday that a telemetry issue had disturbed the day for Lotus and any hopes of a smoother run today were ruined by a gearbox issue early in the morning. The gearbox had to be changed and Kimi did not set a competitive time until the final ninety minutes of the day.
It was another encouraging day for Mercedes, who topped the times yesterday with Nico Rosberg; today Hamilton managed to complete 121 laps. The Briton spent the morning switching between different exhausts – with and without the Coanda system. And like many others this afternoon was focused on longer, fuel-laden stints.
Fernando Alonso made it the five top Constructor’s filling the top five spaces as he gained more familiarity with the F138. After posting his fastest lap on the medium tyre, Alonso conducted a number of long runs on the hard tyre as the day came to a close.
Valtteri Bottas took over from Pastor Maldonado today to have his first taste of the William FW35, with the young Finn ending the day 2/10ths quicker than his team mate could achieve yesterday.
Further down the field, Max Chilton put Marussia in tenth place and ahead of Caterham for the second time this week.
Testing continues tomorrow, but on Friday rain is forecast, so teams may alter their plans to cope with that. Many will be keen to take the opportunity to try the new Pirelli wet tyres. The wet was the weakest tyre in the range last season and has been changed for 2013.
JA on F1 Technical Adviser Mark Gillan gives his assessment at the half way stage in the second test:
“It is clear that the Teams are struggling on the tyres in the cold conditions. Barcelona is a stern test for the Teams’ new cars and it is a fickle track at the best of times and track evolution throughout the Event and even through the day can be large.
“Most Teams will bring a new 2nd chassis to this test, with a 3rd chassis in preparation for either the 3rd test or an aero test prior to Melbourne.
“The way it works is this: Most Teams will use this first Barcelona test to check for reliability and then bring the new aero update package for the 2nd Barcelona test to concentrate on performance – Ferrari’s
post Day 1 debrief, for example, was pretty much in line with this programme.
“It is therefore surprising that with the exception of a couple of Teams, headed by Ferrari, that more mileage was not done yesterday. There were clearly a number of small but very irritating software/electronic/mechanical issues that curtailed running.”
Barcelona Test Day 2
1. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m21.848s 97 Laps
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m22.197s +0.349 84
3. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m22.697s +0.849 43
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m22.726s +0.878 121
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m23.247s +1.399 76
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m23.561s +1.713 98
7. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m23.718s +1.870 70
8. Paul di Resta Force India 1m23.971s +2.123 62
9. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m24.205s +2.357 88
10. Max Chilton Marussia 1m25.115s +3.267 67
11. Charles Pic Caterham 1m26.243s +4.395 102