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Barcelona Test 2: Day 2: Grosjean tops Times on wet/dry day
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  01 Mar 2013   |  5:55 pm GMT  |  38 comments

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

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38 Comments
  1. Amritraj says:

    Hi James,

    Gary A was quite critical of Ferrari’s lack of rear grip.

    Any insights into this?

    Regards.

    1. AlexD says:

      I think the car is 0,5 sec off red bull

  2. alexdhq says:

    Marussia seems to have a much improved car this year and if that’s really the case then I think they would have been better served by having at least one experienced driver in their line-up. I wonder who they’re considering for that second seat, considering funding is such an important factor…

  3. rags says:

    Please can you initial tyre used next to name of driver, thnx

    1. Millsy says:

      An excellent idea rags! Please James, can this info be included in the lap times table? For an accurate comparison the lap times published need to have the tyre used. It would make the lap times table far more useful.
      Please…

  4. JEZ Playense says:

    Lotus looking better an better. Ok it’s only testing but when it’s your favorite drivers team…

  5. Random 79 says:

    Well done to Romain. If he can keep his head this year he and Lotus should do well :)

  6. goferet says:

    Meanwhile after these two rain affected days, am beginning to have hope for a wet year.

    Yes, looking at my calendar, I see the race weekends of 2013 are similar to those of 2008, with the actual days in 2013 being a little off because of the leap year in 2008.

    Fingers crossed for a wet year for if it’s another global warming year, well >>> Red Bull will have their name carved on trophies before Japan.

  7. Mitchel says:

    I quite like the bendy nosed charm of the Lotus :)

  8. ramsa says:

    any story who is finally going to take the last seat at Marrussia

  9. Anne says:

    Jules Bianchi is the new official Marussia driver!!!

    :)

  10. Brahma says:

    Hi James,

    Good summary of the day`s action.

    Thanks
    Brahma

  11. Jenny says:

    Poor Lewis. Life is turning out to be nightmare!

    1. Richard says:

      Not quite sure what you mean?

  12. ronmon says:

    At least two web sites now report that Jules Bianchi will be in the second Marussia car. He will run the last two days of the test.

  13. Panagiotis says:

    Where are we up to after 2 days? All teams are running different programs I guess, any conclusions yet or we have to wait till Sunday evening? Any way very peculiar for Ferrari not testing final car before Melbourne as previously announced by the team, especially when others will do. Are they so confident or they are just late… again? Up untill now there are dubious statements regarding new ferrari from the team to observers, I just don’t get this year testing with all cars.

  14. Sebee says:

    Inanimate carbon rod?

    That is the secret weapon at RBR for 2013?

    Either they are flaunting their abilities or Homer Simpson is the new aero guru at RBR.

  15. Dan says:

    So methinks John Booth and co must be very happy with Jules Bianchi- good for money and Ferrari see if he can cut it too!

  16. Thompson says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Caterham made a big mistake dropping Kovalinen. Maybe he and Petrov were out driving last years car.

    1. Random 79 says:

      No, you’re not the only one.

    2. Kit says:

      You are not alone. Although one cannot draw conclusions from the many test days held so far, there seems to be a pattern that points to a great year ahead for Marussia.

      I think there will be many great battles this year at the backend, with 3 rookies and 1 semi-rookie going all out to prove themselves to the upper rung teams .

  17. ScarletFever says:

    I have a silly question, does the FIA limit the teams from having only one car at a time for testing ?
    If the team were only bound by mileage, then a team such as Williams who missed the first test could run two cars side by side and compare the results of testing various components simultaneously.
    Would testing not be a lot more efficient and conclusive that way.

    1. Random 79 says:

      That’s actually a pretty good question. I have no idea what the answer is though.

    2. KRB says:

      Yes, just one car can run per team per day in testing. I would doubt that the same monocoque is used each day (and just switch out the different drivers’ seats), but I’m not certain on that.

  18. gudien says:

    Romain is coming good already for the new season. I expect a big season for Grosjean in 2013.

  19. Dan says:

    Are Mercedes going to be competitive in your opinion James?

  20. Simon Donald says:

    Looks light it’s tight at the top. At the moment it looks like we have Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and possibly Mercedes who will be fighting it out for the podium positions in the first few races. Can’t wait! Very excited for my home race in Oz in a fortnight!!!

  21. Irish con says:

    Watching the sky testing today the Ferrari looked terrible on the long run but the times still seemed decent for a car on hard tyres and full of fuel. I still don’t like the Pirelli markings. I think they should do what Bridgestone used to do and put a white line on the softer tyre that’s being used that weekend. I realise that wouldn’t work in testing with all 4 tyres there but who cares it’s only testing.

    1. Random 79 says:

      It’s not like the Bridgestones where you could see the stripes head on due to the grooves.

      Different company, different thinking.

      Shame they couldn’t make the entire tyre different colours – THAT would be interesting :)

      1. Irish con says:

        Bridgestone was there in 2009 and 2010 and they was slick tyres with no grooves and the strip on the outside shoulder of the tyre was still pretty visible I think. Don’t like too many colours on the tyres.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Fair point. I suppose it’s just a matter of personal taste.

  22. Quade says:

    Lets hope their ultimate speed was unaffected by the engine mapping saga. It will be great to see a shakeup at the top end of the rankings this year.

  23. KRB says:

    Razia out, Bianchi in. So will it be Marussia-Ferrari next year?

    As for Mercedes, seeing as the soft was the most used tire last year, the sooner they get on it, the better. Though perhaps the medium and hard will be used more this season, compared to last year.

    1. KRB says:

      Well, Hamilton put on some softs, and did a very handy lap indeed (1:20.558), faster than his “pole” lap last year by over a second. Yes, I realize that the car can be set up in ultimate flying-lap configuration, with no thought of having to complete a race distance the next day, but still that’s pretty damn fast.

      So it looks like the speed is there for the Mercedes (at least to be near the top 4 of RBR, McL, SF, and Lotus). But its fundamental problem was eating the tires last year … if it’s kinder in that regard, then they’ll be a definite factor in races.

  24. chris green says:

    james

    caterham seem to be really struggling.

  25. Steve Zodiac says:

    Caterham in a lot of trouble? or do they just need an experienced driver?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Bit of both

    2. KRB says:

      I haven’t seen the car in action, but following the Live Testing on BBC’s site, whenever they mention the Caterham it doesn’t sound good at all! Whereas the Marussia sounds like they’ve made a step up, with KERS on the car this year.

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