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Jerez Test Day 4: Kimi Edges Out hard charging Bianchi
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By:   |  08 Feb 2013   |  8:37 pm GMT  |  101 comments

Kimi Raikkonen ensured Lotus became the only team to top the times on two days at Jerez as the Finn set the pace on an extended final day, which required a long break to fix a pot-hole.

The fourth and final day at Jerez had to be extended due to the appearance of a pot-hole between Turns 10 and 11, which caused a fifty minute delay and required quick-drying cement. To compensate, the teams were given an extra half an hour of testing time.

Raikkonen set the second fastest time of the week to narrowly deny Force India’s Reserve Driver Jules Bianchi, who was looking for a big statement to boost his chances of landing the final driver slot on this year’s grid. Although, Bianchi did claim the third quickest time this week with relatively few laps under his belt and he could have improved had he not had to step aside for Paul Di Resta to take over this afternoon.

Raikkonen set three laps in the low 1m18s during three short stints on the soft tyre. As has been the case throughout the week, the soft tyre was quickly scrubbed up and a second flying lap saw times increase by over a second. Lotus then spent the remainder of their day on some longer, high fuel runs.

“The car’s been good, we’ve been running with plenty of petrol throughout the whole test and yet we have shown a decent turn of speed. We’ve done a fair number of laps without any significant reliability issues. So it’s a reasonable start,” said Lotus Technical Director James Allison.

Sebastian Vettel completed the top three after spending the morning on shorter runs using the hard tyre. He topped the times at midday and following the pot-hole break he concentrated on stints of around eight laps in length using both the medium and hard tyre.

Once the delay was resolved Esteban Gutierrez and Lewis Hamilton each set out on a mammoth run, with Gutierrez completing a race simulation of 55 laps. Hamilton didn’t quite match that in the one run but for the second day in a row Mercedes finished with the highest lap tally of anyone. The final two days in Jerez has seen them complete 293 laps, compared to the 29 from Day One and Two combined.

Hamilton has been pleased by his first impressions of the F1W04 and his new team this week, and feels they are heading in the right direction. “I think we are at the level where we would have hoped to have been, I couldn’t really have asked for more. The guys have done a great job to add downforce to the car, understand where they have been and take the car in the direction they want to go. Now they need direction,” said Hamilton.

The same could not be said for Ferrari and Development driver, Pedro De La Rosa. His first day with the team was over almost as soon as it had begun. A gearbox failure put a dampener on yesterday’s strong pace and De La Rosa never threatened the front-runners when he finally completed some laps in the afternoon.

Toro Rosso capped off a strong first test with Jean-Eric Vergne ending the by splitting Gutierrez and Hamilton, in fifth place. The STR9 has not been out of the top five on any days this week and furthermore have consistently found themselves within a couple of tenths of their big brother.

Sergio Perez had a fairly quiet day for McLaren, concentrating on fuel-heavy runs and spending long periods of the day in discussion with his engineers.

Charles Pic was another driver to rack up plenty of miles today, eventually completing 109 over a series on lengthy runs.

[Keep an eye out for analysis of Jerez Test on JA on F1]

Jerez Test Day 4
1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m18.148s 83 Laps
2. Jules Bianchi Force India 1m18.175s + 0.027 56 Laps
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m18.565s + 0.417 96 Laps
4. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m18.669s + 0.521 142 Laps
5. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m18.760s + 0.612 92 Laps
6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m18.905s + 0.757 145 Laps
7. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m18.944s + 0.796 98 Laps
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m19.851s + 1.703 92 Laps
9. Pedro de la Rosa Ferrari 1m20.316s + 2.168 51 Laps
10. Charles Pic Caterham 1m21.105s + 2.957 109 Laps
11. Luiz Razia Marussia 1m21.226s + 3.078 82 Laps
12. Paul di Resta Force India 1m23.435s + 5.287 49 Laps

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  1. Seán Craddock says:

    Did the STR9 do any long runs this week James? If so were the times consistent?

    I think they’ve made the biggest leap forward this year

    1. Sebee says:

      Torro Rosso is looking dangerous. I went back to look at the results for the 4 days and they have been quite good.

      Perhaps Mr. Newey spent some of his off-days on STR for fun.

      What if there is plan by Red Bull to put Toro Rosso solidly into the Top 10? After all no point protecting the IP of 2013 formula ahead of next season. May as well just throw it all out there. If they achieve it, it is going to get very interesting. Very interesting indeed.

      1. Jordan says:

        Yes, also serves to give the boys more speed to show what they are capable of. One of them will replace Webbo, so it stances to reason one of them should get an opportunity to win, just like the opportunity that was given to Seb all those years ago. Me thinks that Ferrari engine was turned up on that fateful day.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Definitely a leap forward; the STR9 isn’t due out until next year…but yeah I agree, Torro Rosso are looking good :)

    3. Araqiel says:

      STR8* Hopefully not as in “‘STR8′ on in the braking zone”.

  2. Louis.MT says:

    For the future of Formula one, Bianchi has to have a go !

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I’m fascinated to your reasons.
      He hasn’t been stellar in the feeder series so far.

      1. Candice says:

        beaten by Fjrin in Formula 3.5

      2. Louis.MT says:

        He was the quickest guy all year long, and we all know how Frijns won his title, and im rather happy that he will stayed out this year, a pay back for what he did.

      3. David Ryan says:

        Louis.MT: Think that’s a bit of a harsh evaluation to be honest. Bianchi was quick, no doubt, but at times he didn’t string it all together (witness going from pole to 7th in the penultimate race, for example). That is why he was behind Frijns in the points going into that final race, and having seen the incident several times now I view it as no more than a racing incident. The more pertinent point is that Bianchi, with his GP2 experience, should really have established himself at the head of the field last season without difficulty, and I suspect this may be why Force India has been reluctant to announce his future plans. Indeed, they admitted that prior to Hulkenberg leaving the plan was for Bianchi to remain reserve driver, like Frijns will be this year. He may well take his place on the grid in due course, but I think the jury is still out as to what level he is at.

      4. Paul says:

        In the last four years Bianchi was F3 Euroseries champion, finished top 3 in 2 seasons of GP2 and 2nd in FR 3.5. That isn’t stellar?

      5. Denis68 says:

        With Ferrari’s backing he always drove for top teams in GP2 and FR 3.5 and still couldn’t win any of those titles in three season’s.

        In the 2011 GP2 season he even failed to beat Luca Filipi.

      6. Paul says:

        He probably should have won at least one of those titles I agree.

        But the reality is that there’s no Hamiltons or Hulkenbergs in the current crop of feeder series drivers that are dominating all round them. Who else not in F1 has a better CV tahn Bianchi? None of this year’s crop of rookies have done better. Frijns is the man that probably comes closest, but he’s not really been tested at a high level outside of the World Series by Renault package. I’m not entirely convinced he would win GP2 this year if he gets a seat.

    2. Simmo says:

      Well, I guess seeing as Bianchi is in the Force India, we can pretty much assume that he is having the drive next season. I really can’t imagine them going any other way now.

      1. James Clayton says:

        An interesting comment on another site. Pedro De La Rosa’s car had number 32 on it, as he was a test driver.

        Bianchi’s had number 15

      2. Diabolo says:

        that’s a way to see things, and it would be fair if Bianchi had the drive. he’s a real stellar! Of course he don’t succeed in GP2 for the championship, but in WSR 3.5, for me he’s the champion when you remember the way Frijns put the french out of track in the last race in BCN. Bianchi is really really a fast driver. Ferrari would not push him so hard to have a race seat if it were not the case, trust me!

  3. Krischar says:

    Hi James

    what are your thoughts from Jerez test ?

    Though it’s really tough to predict or know who have the quickest car at this stage

    Can you provide us a inkling as to how Mclaren and Ferrari look when compared with RBR

    1. James Allen says:

      We will look at the test in detail over the next few days.

    2. Anne says:

      If you want some reference now there is an Andrew Benson article on the BBC wesite. Basically according to the article we have the Fabulous Four
      George-Red Bull
      In that order and very close to each other. However I´m not sure I can agree. Something tells me Red Bull is better than that. At the same time Andrew Benson said nothing is written in stone yet. We have to wait for the test in Barcelona

      1. Chromatic says:

        Anne, do you mean the article headed, “..Lewis Hamilton and the F1 Frontrunners” under a big photo of Lewis

        fifth Beatle – Mercedes?

      2. Anne says:

        No. I meant what I said after reading AB article. But it´s a great idea for Lewis. He can have his own Beatles covers band and they will be a hit with the name Lewis Hamilton and the F1 Frontrunners


      3. Dave C says:

        With Mclaren and Ferrari looking really solid and they have top drivers which are all very good calculating racers, then you have Redbull and Mercedes which both have strong cars albeit slightly slower than Mclaren and Ferrari but the interesting bit is that they have the fastest drivers in terms of raw speed so it’ll be a fascinating battle, then you throw in the joker thats Lotus then we’re in for a classic.

      4. Mitchel says:


        Great summary, can’t wait for March!

      5. F1 for life says:

        Me too I cannot wait for this season to kick start in March.

        I do feel that Lotus has made good improvements, but the Jerez track suits Lotus more. We should get a clearer picture during the Barcelona runs, as this track can be compared for aero and down force levels.

        James in your opinion, which car seems good through cornering (entry and exit), traction and strait line speed?.

      6. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        “…you have Redbull and Mercedes which both have strong cars albeit slightly slower than Mclaren and Ferrari but the interesting bit is that they have the fastest drivers in terms of raw speed…”

        And Ferrari and Lotus? Alonso has an oblitering raw speed, only matched by Kimi sometimes.

      7. JEZ Playense says:

        “Macca and Ferrari look really solid” as opposed to Redbull the winners of the last few championships????

        Nico and Mark are not famous for raw speed so I guess you are referring to Hamilton/ Vettel? Alonso and Kimi have every bit as much speed if not more…

        I expect Lotus will finish in the top three, possibly in the top two at the seasons end, with Merc and Ferrai and Macca behind them.

      8. EzPez says:

        The BBC F1 web site isn’t what it used to be since Benson has been writing for them. i only use it to check the gossip section now, and for the big stories, I wait for JAonF1 to cover them :)

      9. Sri says:

        I agree.

      10. F1 for life says:

        James Allen is the best in his domain of F1, everything he writes is to the point. I like the technical analysis he does and the innovation section. So Again thank you James.

      11. Tim says:

        the worst part of the BBC site, for me, is the comments section. It appears to be inhabited by squabblig children and trolls – who drown out anyone who wants to make a reasonable point. It bears no comparison to the quality and civilised nature of the debate on here.

      12. AuraF1 says:

        The BBC also has Gary Anderson who seems to say – red bull – the best at everything with 10% more downforce than everyone. Mclaren good on hard tyres, Ferrari good on softs but lotus best on average.

      13. Anne says:

        Yes I saw Gary Anderson said that RB seems to have 10% more downforce. Besides they showed to be the most consistant and reliable. That´s why for me it´s hard to understand why Andrew Benson believes that McLaren and Ferrari are a little bit ahead of Red Bull.

      14. Tim says:

        I don’t much care for GA, I have no doubt he knows far more than me, it’s just he seems to shoot from the hip. Your example being a case in point, how can he tell simply by watching the cars that RBR has 10% more downforce?

      15. AuraF1 says:

        The 10% more downforce is something other observers have mentioned however. I don’t know if its just a rough guesstimate – but you can see the cars level of under or oversteer from front wing downforce and how long it’s tyres last – that’s a quick way to observe the efficiency of the front to rear balance.

        I don’t really know much about GA’s style or qualifications (I tended to watch sky’s coverage last year so didn’t see much of the guy) but the ability to watch cars up close and guess the downforce level is a skill many f1 engineers have.

        I remember one of the mclaren engineers last year in an interview explaining exactly how many points of downforce more the red bull had gained front and rear between two race improvements – although they use a lot of technical aids to calculate this he mentioned this was just from observing vettels cornering ability and tyre wear over a few laps.

        Having no engineering knowledge myself I can’t say how accurate this is but I think GA clearly has some authority to speak on the tech issues. Incidentally Ted kravitz said pretty much the same thing on sky’s notebook reports.

      16. AuraF1 says:

        Also Anne, having read Andrew Bensons article – he posits that theory based on a formula using times versus tyres and overall performance on multiple laps. He openly states its just a table used by some observers like him to try and get info out of the unknowable times. He also states that its rightly inaccurate because nobody knows the fuel loads for those key laps.

        I know Andrew benson gets a lot of flak on f1 forums but he’s a journalist printing theories spouted by many in the paddock and he does state in his article exactly how Gary Anderson’s observations disagree with the theories.

        I think a lot of people mistake a journalist reporting things said to them with a personal bias.

      17. madmax says:

        The BBC’s Gary Anderson stuff is brilliant though.

      18. Brad says:

        lol, love that comparison Anne!!

      19. Anne says:

        Thank you. I have more comparisons but I´m saving them for future testing days and the season

  4. Richard says:

    All fairly meaningless unless you can crunch the numbers. Reliabilty is the key area to be tested here, and while some teams had issues they seem relatively minor.

  5. Lee says:

    Well McLaren, RBR, Ferrari, Lotus and (eventually) Merc all had a good test, to a greater or lesser extent.

    Bring on Melbourne.

  6. Irish con says:

    I don’t think the times matter too much. It’s more the opinion of people I respect watching from the side of the track like Gary Anderson or James or Martin Brundle. They can tell if a car is quick or not with the work a driver has to do in the corner. Looks like a close grid tho.

  7. Sebee says:

    Well, I think it it fairly certain that we’re going to pick up exactly where we left off last year.

    I have this weird feeling that Button will get the best of these tires somehow.

    1. Blade Runner says:

      I agree, JB could be the dark horse again this year.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Hmmm, I remember Hamilton after a race last year making a point about having looked after his tyres somewhat better than Jenson. Contrary to popular opinion.
      I also remember Jenson struggling for a number of races before the Germany updates. I’m not so convinced by his ability to carry a weak car.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Lewis certainly improved his tyre management in 2012 – though if these 2013 tyres warm up faster at normal tracks – JB may improve his quali and thus render ineffective his challengers adavantages (after all Alonso isn’t a great quali driver either – that’s always been Hamilton and vettels province).

        It again all comes down to how quick these tyres warm up and contrarily last on rough surfaces.

        It very well could be Vettel, JB, Alonso or even webber and Hamilton this year. Hell, maybe even Kimi or grosjean! Though I suspect red bull will be fastest come Melbourne – they just seem so quietly confident…

      2. Craig D says:

        Mostly depends on whether McLaren have a slight car advantage. With that, Button has a chance as when he gets to the front he’s often consistently strong. If the car is equal to others though, he hasn’t got that tiny bit more ‘X factor’ to out-do Alonso or Vettel over a championship. That’s my feeling anyway.

        My other feeling though is that this will be Alonso’s year. The Ferrari is looking strong enough to be up there from day 1, and with that Alonso will be formidable if he drives like last year. Also it’s hard to believe Alonso will not be a Champion with Ferrari at some point! It would seem a strange omission in history if didn’t happen. A bit like if Hamilton doesn’t win more than one championship. But then I guess the fact Stirling Moss isn’t a champion must be strange too…

      3. AuraF1 says:

        I think a lot is down to psychology once the car is taken into account. Button is far more talented than his detractors make out but he seems sort of ‘satisfied’ with being a 1 x WDC – if he wins another, you get the impression he’d be very happy but I still get the feeling he could retire now and be fulfilled.

        That’s certainly a healthy mental state and jenson strikes me as a well rounded and happy guy.

        The difference with someone like Alonso is they give off this slightly unhinged edge of truly elite sportsmen and women – that they’ll feel sort of cheated unless they are remembered as Senna’s equal. I think that’s the kind of unhealthy attitude that separates very good winners from the great champions.

        And I say that as a fan of button. I’m not sure if he will go that extra mile like Alonso, Lewis or Vettel will. I think in reality the skill-sets are a lot closer amongst the top-10 drivers – but a few have this willingness to drive themselves to the edge.

        As a mclaren fan generally I hope button shows that can develop this year. If not I suppose my hopes are with Perez!

      4. James Allen says:

        Interesting observation. I think that may also have been true of Kimi, who achieved his goal of winning a WDC.

        Now he’s back, you sense he’d love to win again, but is it the all consuming passion? I must ask him this season

      5. Sebee says:


        It is true that most human beings have the desire to have more, own more, and consume endlessly, often beyond our needs. It is indeed healthy to not go for seconds just for sake of greed. But is that healthy in a competitive sport? It is certainly a sign of maturity to do so. But I think the expectation is that if you are on the grid, your goal should be to win it all, unless your car offers you no prospect of such success.

    3. Elie says:

      I’ve seen enough over the last few years to know that Jensons success is least about tyre management and more about strategy calls and right car set ups for differing conditions. Last year proved he is no better than Lewis, Sergio, Kimi at “reading” and dealing with the tyres.

      So if he wins- and he may very well do! – it will be much more to do with him being in the best car and the team give him the best opportunity with the good strategies.

  8. Steven says:

    Worst part of the season for me!! UGH!! LOL Its imposible to know where all the teams are until Australia. The fact that Im a Lewis fan makes it even worse, the anticipation of how the Merc will do is killing me!

  9. dean cassady says:

    Red Bull, relentless.
    In terms of pace, one need look no further than Webber’s long runs, and Vettel’s mid-1:18 on HARD tires! No major technical issues at Red Bull either; the bull looms ominously!
    After the bull, the black team is looking very good! Two days topping the timesheet may not be too meaningful, but the reliability at the first test, consistent long run times; they really seem like they have the momentum, and right now, look the strongest to challenge the bull.
    Ferrari!?! a spark of nothing less than dominance on day 3, but just like Filipe said, it doesn’t mean too much. The reliability of the red car is typical of a first test, yet, I bet many had hoped for clearer sailing to set a tone of challenge; hat was missing for me. Also, the communications coming out of everything red seemed… well, just too scripted and consistent; I’m wary of this level of message control; if a team is so strong, read ‘red BULL’, the message is there for everybody to see for themselves, and so potent!
    McLaren?!? a question mark for me. Yes Button did have that run, and wasn’t it on mediums? But I didn’t see the same level of consistency as the red bulls or black and gold flowers. I read a bit about how the new McLaren is a significant redesign, uhm… it doesn’t seem any more changed than the other top teams.
    Maybe I have it wrong.
    Mercedes, whoa or woe? Inner turmoil?!? Fires and massive mileage make-up. I don’t want to touch it. If the discussion (in the ENglish-language dominated British press, and their pet topics) wasn’t so absurdly focused on Lewis, and ‘how he’s feeling…’, or something, I’d think there’d be a lot of discussion about ow they’re looking at the backside of Force India, for sure, and maybe another team.
    I am too harsh?
    This is Formula One! They sell their products to the aerospace industry! Mercedes is one of the primary marquee automobile and industrial brands in the world!
    They ARE in the weeds!
    Too many chiefs… it looks like it, to me.

    The usual scraps behind, except one is missing.

    I still like Sauber, and prefer to believe them biding their time, working spartan-like through their programs, maximizing their resources.
    Did I mention I like the look of the 2013 Sauber?

    1. Dave C says:

      Thats a nice essay you wrote there I must say, but I think your predictions are not correct, Mclaren looks stronger than Redbull and Lotus at the moment and Ferrari looks quite strong, I also believe Mercedes are competitive definitely more so than FI and Sauber, iy’ll probably be Vettel or Hamilton for the title.

      1. Sebee says:

        If HAM wins the title this year, I owe you a pint!

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      Wow, talk about reading a lot into nothing. You, like everybody else, have absolutely no idea about what each team was doing and how they got their times (Jensons day 1 time was done on hards, by the way).

    3. AuraF1 says:

      Interesting predictions – other than jenson was on hards on a green track… Though other sites have pointed out the mclaren suited hards last year and suffered relative to Ferrari on softs…

    4. dean cassady says:

      As the British people want to focus on all things British.
      Notwithstanding the fact that most of the industry of F1 is British, the media and (predominantly) British skew of the comments is a trend.
      I am clearly giving my opinion, OPINION, at a point where all the people in the know, know there is not too much to tell about how strong the combatant will be in the first race, let alone, the relative performance over the season.
      What I am seeing, is thus presented.
      In all things British, I do think McLaren are weakened by the departure of Lewis; I think they are struggling, in their McLaren way; they are still have the most horsepower in in-season development, though they have been comprehensively strategically out-manoeuvred by Red Bull, for quite some time, especially notable last year. Furthermore, if Perez can’t beat Button, I don’t think McLaren have a chance at the world championship this year.
      As for Ferrari and Mercedes, if one can’t read the tentativeness of the start to their campaigns, and/or one refuses to see the tend across last year of their having failed to ‘get their junk together’, then all comments concerning their relative position are skewed also.
      The trend lines are clear, and consistent with those trend lines, Red Bull and Lotus are the two teams with the strongest advancement.
      I will state it again, for those not paying attention, Red Bull have loads in the bag; they’ve got a new concept, or at least a boundary-pushing design, ahead of the rest.

    5. JEZ Playense says:

      Lots of good points! I hope the Hulk has found a place to develope and win

  10. goferet says:

    The fact that Kimi went for the soft tyre run proves to me he was going for a headline time in a bid to possibly attract sponsors/investors as the team boss alluded to sometime last year.

    Just like Massa’s soft tyre run yesterday, I think in Massa’s case, this was done to keep the media off the team’s back with numerous questions however it was very telling when Rosberg said on Twitter that Massa’s time doesn’t bother him at all.

    The only two teams that haven’t shown their true potential in my view are Red Bull and Mercedes and this is where the majority of the question marks lie.

    Regards Bianchi, that’s one person that need not worry for he is virtually fighting for the Force India seat by himself.

    If Bianchi’s seat wasn’t already rubber stamped already then the other candidates such as Sutil would have been up and about in the paddock giving it a go.

    As for Perez, it appears he has begun horning the strategies he will be employing during the season i.e. tyre preservation.

    Will be fun to see really who is the best tyre whisperer on the grid come 2013 (haven’t heard of any stories of drivers visiting the Pirelli factory this time round)

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Has the thought that the teams might want to run the soft tyres on a low-ish fuel run to find out how they behave with the new compounds and structure for this year not crossed your mind?

      1. Sri says:

        They would not do that at Jerez as it wears down the tires very fast (even in 1 lap) and hence it is not representative of actual F1 track. All teams found that out (or know it). So those who did, did it for a purpose.

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        Yes, that purpose would be a baseline understanding of the soft tyres handleing charecteristics, if not there wear rate. Most of the fast times we’ve seen this week came from 3 to 6 lap runs which given the loss of almost a second per lap on the softer tyres pretty much rules out a glory run, as you’d only need/want the one lap for that.

      3. AJ says:

        Worried that after Hembery’s comments and the pot holes Jerez will get dropped from pre-season

      4. goferet says:

        @ Andrew Carter

        Hmm… Actually that didn’t cross my mind.

        You may have a point.

      5. Elie says:

        Agree Andrew and the fact that Lotus are testing their qualifying pace which they so desperately need- might have a little something to do with it..rather than a guy that dislikes attention more than any guy on the grid..

  11. Oli79 says:

    What a great session today, been there from 9am to 5pm. Kimi & Gutierrez looked fast but i think no team will match the bulls this season once more, Vettel looked so smooth & fast it was a pleasure to watch.
    Lewis put in a good no. of laps and looked better than expected….same as perez. But as i mentioned before Vettel looked brutal!!

    1. bearforce1 says:

      Thanks for sharing that. This is exactly the sort of info I like to get from people who are lucky enough to be at the circuit.

    2. Tim says:

      I hope this isn’t a daft question, how do you get in to watch the testing? Do you have to be invited as a guest of the teams/reporters or can an ordinary spectator just turn up and buy a ticket?

      1. Oli79 says:

        Tim, in Jerez you can just show up and buy a ticket at the door. For 20€ you have access to all stands & general admission.

  12. Andrew Carter says:

    As exciting as it was to have the cars out on track again and follow the progressive of the test session, I think we can all safely say we know about as much now as we did a week ago regarding this years competative order.

    1. Correct! Glad to see someone call it like it is rather than the “for some reasons…”

      FSR I think that Sauber/Button/ToroRosso/Lotus/an Antelope will do really well this year

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        My moneys on the Antelope.

    2. grat says:

      Actually, we know the Ferrari is much better than last year, the Mercedes is not as bad as expected, McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus are still threats (although that’s expected), and people read way too much into the results from the first test session– no, wait, we already knew that too.

      So, yeah. Ferrari and Mercedes improved from last year, but who knows by how much.

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        Well, lets face it, given where Ferrari started last year it would have been a real achievment for them to actually have been worse this time around.

        As for Mercedes, they started last year with a strong baseline as well but fell away spectacularly from mid season onwards. Its not that much of a stretch to consider them having a strong start again.

  13. Irish con says:

    When was the last time a red bull turned up at a track that wasnt spa and didn’t look like a podium contender. I think u have to go back to Valencia 2009 possibly. So the chances of red bull suddenly not challenging at a race weekend any time soon isn’t going to happen. It’s looking like vettel will have a chance at 4 in a row atleast.

    1. Irish con says:

      I meant monza. Whoops

  14. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Vettel and Felipe look very good.

    Hamilton maybe the only one in Mediums looks not too bad, but to get more downforce in just few weeks could be hard to achieve.

    James, how can affect the drivers personal circunstances, like Hamilton looks “older” and “in a mission”, Grosjean will be a father, Kimi got divorced, etc.

  15. DANNY says:

    The press are disappointed that Button and Hamilton haven’t driven on the same test days. That hasn’t stopped them from trying to make stories. I love this part of the season.

  16. Jame Dunkt says:

    Great racing driver. Looks ridiculous in daft shades and beanie.

    1. Tim says:

      I had the exact same thought – looks like his Mum has dressed him!

  17. Daniel Spiller says:

    Have to say in most disappointed by the backmarkers. Really hoped they would have plugged the gap but if anything they seem to have fallen back even further. Really wanted to see marussia score some points this year but can’t see it happening anymore. A larger team off the pace you’d feel they could close the gap but I just don’t see it. Shame. I hope I’m wrong. Kimi for a title charge though!

  18. chris green says:

    is that ferrari having problems with a newly designed gearbox?

  19. Lawrence says:

    Loving the updates and the analysis James. Thanks.

  20. alam says:

    I’m glad the Fin is doing well, speaking of Fins Bottas seems to be getting on well with the car.

    I’m happy Heikki has left, like Truli and Fisi some drivers need to leave as they had their chance at a top team with a championship winning car but never performed accordingly.

    I’m intrigued to see what the new blood have to offer.

    1. Denis68 says:

      Speaking of drivers who have had their chance in top teams but never performed accordingly, Webber must surely fall in that category.

  21. blindovercrest says:

    The article implies that the track was faster in the afternoon. If that is so, could anyone tell me why Di Resta did not match Bianchi’s laptimes?

    What is quite interesting is that back in September 2011, Perez went head to head with Bianchi at Fiorano on a F60, only to trail Bianchi by four tenths for the quickest laptime. Surely if Bianchi was as bad as some people make him out to be, we would expect the opposite of what we saw at that test in Fiorano and yesterday at Jerez. After all it is not like Perez or Di Resta are below par drivers!

    1. Louis.MT says:

      Thats a very good point and it was even half a second over Perez, quite impressive considering Perez was a full time f1 driver.

  22. Richard says:

    I don’t think we should get too carried away by Gary Anderson’s comment because what he actually said was that the Red Bull car looked stable as though it had got 10% more downforce.
    I’ve always said Red Bull have the most agile car for medium to high speed corners, but there’s more to it than that, and of course the cars are at a very early stage with most cars having highly significant updates before Melbourne. It is certainly going to be very close, and I hope Mercedes are able to close the gap sufficiently for podium finishes in the first race.

  23. Elie says:

    Bianci is a great young driver – I have no hesitation on saying that again- he did exactly what was required of him in the young driver test last year and set very quick consistent lap times and he’s doing it again – this guy is the real deal and should be driving in F1! I have no idea where the negative comments are coming from.

    As for Kimi – he couldn’t give a }^^+ if he was even a second faster he knows like anyone else this is just a shake down and it took a bit of time to get the car to his liking. Development Race is what will win a championship – people will be declared winners in Nov not Feb. it’s very clear if your doing 1:18 on hard tyres your going to be at least capable of doing 1:17 on softs so neither Mclaren or Ref Bull were chasing times but by not doing so -may have shown us just how much potential there is in their packages and that’s all were talking about now.

  24. Anne says:

    Well there is a new twist in the Force India second driver saga. According to Idian media reports Narain Karthykahyan is negotiating for that seat. He would bring money from the big company TATA.

    1. Louis.MT says:

      If SFI didn’t take Senna ( Millions + a bit, but not that much talent) they will never take Kartikeyan, just remenber how Mallya spoke about the indians drivers, not that nice. plus, no offence but Kartikeyan hasn’t the level to be in f1, Bianchi’s the real deal.

      1. Anne says:

        Well Lewis and Bernie like the idea. Both think it will be a good chance for Narain to show he has talent

    2. Angelina says:


      1. The Pearly Wisdom says:

        But what if Narain beats Di Resta? Surely then both of them should be dismissed and Pedro De L Rosa would be more deserved of a seat

  25. Blade Runner says:

    Glad that Lewis finally got a few laps under his belt in the Merc.

    Found it very funny, the comment from Ross Brawn, about Lewis when he said of him,

    “He has got a really good eye for detail”

    Referring to Lewis being concerned about stickers not being properly attached to the cars bodywork. Sound farmiliar?

    Given that Lewis has been at McLaren all his career, it seems the “McLaren Way” has really stuck with him and he has taken it with him to Merc. Ron pleased pleased about that.

    1. Richard says:

      Well it’s just like serving an apprenticeship! I’m sure Lewis has taken the many good things he has learnt along the way from Mclaren to Mercedes that’s life and it happens to everyone.

      1. raikkes says:

        honestly Merc should have the best car.They would off gave up most of 2012 to develop the 2013 car.I was always under the impression that merc were goin to be strong in 2013 and am pretty sure Micheal was there just to help them develop it.But anyway go KIMI

      2. Richard says:

        Michael Schumacher is now old news, and unfortunately the Mercedes team were in disarray last year due to the changes that were being wrought within the design department. It is important to have continuity because otherwise the team can become directionless. Since the Red Bull dominance aerodynamically the cars have gone up another level or two at which point Michael Schumacher will have no experience at all. Cars in his period operated at a lower level in that sense, but I have to say I do not favour these rather over aero dependant times.

  26. aveli says:

    interesting posts up above, kimi may have topped the table on 2 days but massa was light years clear of the field when he let rip. incidently, i don’t think the red bull let rip so the fight may well be between rory byrne and adrien newey with button refusing to let them have all the fun. button’s name may be up there in australia and suzuka if not at more venues. my 2 cents.

  27. KT says:

    Impressive lap times from Bianchi, I hope Force India will give him a chance in the other race seat, and see how he does.

  28. TQ says:

    Well right now the times don’t mean much, but it seems like a good thing that Lotus is getting off on the right foot… I hope Kimi wins the championship this year!!


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