Romain Grosjean made up for a poor first day of testing yesterday to top the times on the second day in Barcelona, ahead of Jenson Button and Pastor Maldonado.
It was another day of mixed conditions as rain fell overnight and continued through to this morning, offering another opportunity to run the intermediate and wet tyres and gain a clearer picture of the perfect cross over point on to slick tyres.
And this cross-over point occurred an hour prior to the lunch break, when the majority of teams took the chance to cover some dry miles beneath a threatening sky.
When the dry laps commenced Fernando Alonso set the first competitive time, which as expected was quickly deposed with the circuit evolving. Times continued to fall right up to the lunch break, when Button took the top spot using a set of medium tyres.
Following the hour break there was this week’s first sign of some sunshine and we were able to see some times that were comparable to what we saw last week. Button maintained his place at the head of the field, before Grosjean set about a seven-lap stint on the soft tyre; taking the top spot on his first flying lap by 5/10ths of a second.
The final hour of the day saw a drop in temperatures and some light rain, therefore there were no serious improvements. One driver to significantly better their previous time was Vettel, using a set of mediums to put himself just over a second from Grosjean’s time just before the rain fell. Maldonado soon followed suit and usurped Vettel to take third place on a set of soft tyres.
Vettel took over from yesterday’s pace setter Mark Webber in the RB9 as the World Champions used the dry track to put some laps on the hard tyre. Although, the main talking point coming from Red Bull today was the installation of a passive DRS device. The wing stalling aid that has been high on Adrian Newey’s agenda this year came in the form of a rod that stretched from the middle of the main plane to the lower plane.
Fernando Alonso ended the day in last place for Ferrari after completing a number of installation laps and then setting out on a race simulation. The simulation showed strong consistency on the hard tyre during the first stint, but Ferrari’s plans were ruined by the late shower. Nevertheless Alonso stuck on another set of intermediate tyres and continued his programme, potentially gaining the last bit of wet weather information before the improved weather that is expected in the coming days.
Just ahead of Alonso, in tenth, was Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes driver was quick during the stable intermediate conditions earlier in the day and spent the remainder of the day on lengthy runs, mainly using the hard tyre. The team are yet to use a set of soft tyres during Winter testing as they focus on reliability, but the team are confident that when they use the softer compound tyres later in the week they are looking to find between three and five tenths of a second.
In recent days there has been a lot talk surrounding the second seat at Marussia. The place was set to be filled by GP2 graduate Luis Razia, but due to complications with funding it appears that deal may fall through before the season opener in Melbourne. Marussia F1 team president Graeme Lowden said on the BBC Radio 5 Live F1 preview show yesterday that the team had to act in its best interests with regards to drivers and funding, without indicating what the alternative would be.
However, this has come as a positive for Max Chilton, who has got to terms with the Marussia car during his time in Barcelona. He ended today almost a second clear of Giedo van der Garde in the Caterham, who had technical issues this morning and brought out a red flag later in the day.
Better weather is anticipated for the final two days of pre-season testing on Saturday and Sunday.
Barcelona Test Day 2
1.Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m22.716s 88
2.Jenson Button McLaren 1m23.181s + 0.465s 72
3.Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m23.628s + 0.912s 75
4.Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m23.743s + 1.027s 65
5.Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m23.744s + 1.028s 79
6.Adrian Sutil Force India 1m24.215s + 1.499s 62
7.Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m25.483s + 2.767s 61
8.Max Chilton Marussia 1m25.598s + 2.882s 75
9.Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m26.316s + 3.600s 48
10.Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.655s + 3.939s 120
11.Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.878s + 5.162s 102