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Barcelona Day 2 – The Hulk shows his colours
Barcelona Day 2 – The Hulk shows his colours
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Feb 2010   |  8:14 pm GMT  |  131 comments

Nico Hulkenberg topped the times today in Barcelona in the Williams Cosworth. The 22 year old set a time of 1m20.614, compared to Jenson Button’s pole from last season at 1m 20.527. He was fractionally faster than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

The time was set on the second flying lap of a three lap run on super soft tyres towards the end of the day. It is the first time that Williams has really shown its colours this winter testing season. It has been fairly conservative up to this point, bedding in the new Cosworth engine in the early tests. A new floor arrived for the car last night and there are more upgrades coming over the next couple of days, as there are with many teams.

Picture 14
‘A fastest lap could be possible but I’m not sure about a podium, ” he said of his chances in Bahrain. “Unlike last year I hope we can carry forward our Friday pace into qualifying and the race. We have a good baseline with this car and the engine and my goal is to score many, many points.'”

Alonso’s time was set on the first lap of a four lap run on softs. Ferrari did 134 laps today, Alonso focussing on some race simulation work. Like McLaren and Red Bull they started their runs on used soft tyres, as if they had used those tyres in Q3, then at the pit stop, they changed to new sets of medium compound tyres. The exercise was slightly spoiled by a red flag for the Lotus of Jarno Trulli stopping with a steering rack hydraulic problem, which happened twice in the afternoon.

The Ferrari again showed strong pace on the long run, with laps in the low 1m 25s moving down into the 1m 24s with Alonso’s trademark consistency. It was widely agreed that the Ferrari looked very good again today. They had some aerodynamic updates on the car, including a shark’s fin engine cover and an update to the diffuser. Most of the teams are bringing new pieces to the car over the final couple of days of the test.

It was Alonso’s last day of testing and the team’s confidence is there for all to see, “In all it was seven days and I really do have a good impression,” he said. “I’m calm for the first races, because I know that we’ve done some great work. I think there are still some unknown factors, because the tests were limited: we’ll see what will happen in Bahrain. The key will be how the tyres will be used in the races.”

Hamilton’s pace was quite slow on his long run, with laps in the 1m26s and 1m 27s. McLaren is bringing new aero parts to the car throughout this test. Hamilton’s best time of 1m 22.152 came on the second lap of a six lap run, which did not look like he was running low fuel.

Michael Schumacher was also in action. He did a 1m 21.689 on the second lap of a four lap run around lunchtime. Asking around engineers from other teams, the feeling is that Mercedes is not sandbagging, but does have some issues, perhaps around the weight distribution. It seems that getting the tyres switched on for a single lap is proving tricky. If this is the case, it’s worth remembering that the Brawn had the same problem in the second half of last season.

“At the moment we are not perfectly in the position we would like, probably, to be competitive enough to win the first races,” Schumacher said. “But we are working hard, the season is long, and the main issue is not to be too far off. And it is difficult to judge right now what is the real picture.”

BMW Sauber had a productive day with Pedro de la Rosa, covering a practice, qualifying and race simulation. The qualifying performance yielded a 1m 20.973 on the second lap of a three lap run. His race pace was in the 1m 26s for the first part dropping into the 1m 24s for most of the second stint. It was De la Rosa’s last day of pre-season testing and he seems to be back up to speed now after a long lay off from racing.

It’s interesting once again to remind ourselves that the first half of the races are going to be pretty slow this season in comparison to what we are used to in recent times. The front running cars will be three or four seconds per lap slower in the opening phase than they were last season, due to all the extra fuel. Those in the second half of the grid will be relatively less slow, because they tended to run long one stop strategies anyway, with around 80 kilos of fuel in the car, around half of what they will use for a race this year.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel covered 125 laps today. His fastest time of 1m 21.258 was set on the first lap of a three lap run, but he did not appear to be running low fuel in a full qualifying simulation. On his race simulation, the first stint was mainly in the 1m26s, the second part largely in the 1m 24s. The feeling about Red Bull is that the car is a little heavy on its tyres, as last season, which might not help it in races, despite looking like a pretty quick car.

Headline Lap Times Barcelona Day 2

1. Nico Hulkenberg Williams 1:20.614 99
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:20.637 134
3. Pedro De La Rosa BMW Sauber 1:20.973 114
4. Tonio Liuzzi Force India 1:21.056 90
5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:21.258 125
6. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:21.571 104
7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:21.689 85
8. Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 1:22.152 93
9. Robert Kubica Renault 1:24.912 53
10. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:25.524 70
11. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:25.942 52

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Any story on Cosworth making Williams its primary development team? Will all the cosworth teams have the same level of engines and/or updates simultaneously, if allowed.


Today Jenson was doing consistent 1min 28s. Howerver his fastest time was 1min 21s later on.

Having heard that one can be 5 secs slower being full, how is it possible that Jenson had this time up to 7 seconds.

How much is the difference(high fuel-low fuel) by the latest observations. any thoughts?




Can you tell me if the 107% rule is still in effect.Having followed the latest testing times the new teams may not even make the race 5 second’s off the pace can’t be good


James, is there anything behind the fact that BMW Sauber is still not shown in the team-roundup on the Official Formula1 website?

Of course not, but odd, don’t you think?


No, that list was published some time ago, they have been granted an entry, the FIA confirmed at the time, so the list should get updated


James , Ferrari have been using black and silver wheel-rims the last few days.

Do you know if the coulour-difference is tyre related ? For instance :

black = soft tyre compound ,

silver = hard tyre compound ?


James, seems the new aerodynamic update from McLaren has put them at the same pace as Ferrari. Long run from Button today is miles faster than Lewis yesterday.


Indeed. It’s a big upgrade.


Do you think from what you’ve seen so far that McLaren are showing their full hand?


James, I had asked earlier this week why this year the advantage goes to a driver who pits first. I received 3-4 responses, all of which said the same thing, which (a) is very obvious in itself and (b) does not really back up the thesis. The response was that a driver who pits first will then be quicker than the others since he will have new tyres and same fuel load as them. This response is at the very minimum incomplete. The counter-response to it is that (a) the driver who pits first will also lose 20 or so seconds and fall behind some of the others who did not pit, and (b) once the other drivers pit, they too will have new tyres and also an even lighter fuel load on the new tyres than the driver who pitted first had on his new tyres. So I can see an advantage for drivers who actually pit later. I would appreciate a complete response from your staff.


From talking to engineers, this year they will be watching each other more closely than ever. New tyres will always be a lot faster than old ones so the first lap on new tyres will be worth something like 3 secs then the next few will be faster too. So if you are in a direct fight with another car, the advantage lies with the one behind, as when he pits it’s already too late for the lead car to enter the pits. So in a situation like that, around a pit stop window, they will be playing games with mechanics running out at the last minute


I just had a vision of that one and it looked funny in a bennyhill kind of way!


is there a ‘rule’ that you (one) can only respond to one of your comments once per thread? its just that once or twice it has happened that after you have kindly responded to one of my comments, for some reason the reply to part on your next comment is left out, is that a bug or on purpose?



yer, James, me too.

I just thought you censored it. Then again I didn’t think there was anything to censor though.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Looks like Nico gets the rough end of the weather lollipop yet again!! Rain today and forecast to be fine tomorrow for MS.

it wasnt me, it was my sister

the same for massa. Are the speed gods already deciding who is number one and number two?

They must be excited of the coming season, like us ,mere mortals.


James, while across the internet the McLaren fanbase is in meltdown you seem to be uber confident about the MP4-25’s chances! 🙂 Why so?


Not really, I was observing that the long run was slow yesterday. I don’t think they are in trouble, but I also don’t think they are as quick all round as Ferrari


Today’s comment from Button were that he think they can win in Bahrain. Strange thing is that in Autosport the first article’s title was – Button thinks McLaren can win Bahrain and several minutes after that they have changed to Button delighted with final preparations.

This year, like never before I have no clue who can really go to Bahrain as favorite….incredible:-)


hi james! i’d like to know the difference in times between supersoft and soft tyres.thank you.

it wasnt me, it was my sister

james, Don’t you get the sensation that massa is being left aside, little by little, and alonso is getting most of the attention, and the best luck. Less mecanical problems, more dry running, etc.

It is like the champion’s luck is again with him, and it is going to be almost imposible for massa to overcome that.

It is just my feeling.


Massa had one more day for testing, and Fernando didn’t say a word about it though the team and the car is totally new to him, and they expect a lot of him too. You are just Antialonso and looking for something negative to say.


Being a champion is about making things happen for yourself – in races, in qualifying, within a team and with perceptions in F1 and the public. Simple as that


Hi James

Any plans for a fantasy f1 comp on this site, with the high quality of readership it would be extremely competitive and fun.

Last year my 7 year old daughter beat over 400 adults to win our local fantasy f1 and she would like some better completion this year?

News article


James, Ben Miller (comment no 10) mentions: “The contraption which the Mclaren ran yesterday, to measure presumably the air flow, perhaps heightens the suspicion that something is unusual with the rear of their car.”

In a previous test week (probably last) you said that it wouldn’t be a good thing if McLaren were using this kind of devices in the last tests of the pre-season. Do you maintain that, or is this particular device a different question?

I’m surprised that we don’t see any other team using devices like McLaren or green paint. Well, Mercedes did use the green paint yesterday but… they are Mercedes like McLaren.


No, what the comment you are referring to is talking about is the piece of bodywork on top of the monocoque, which *appears* to let air flow past the driver’s knees and through to the rear wing.

The “device” has been speculated as being simply a way to measure such a piece of bodywork. Because of that, people are suspicious that McLaren may be doing something “illegal” within the monocoque, concerning the airflow that is being guided to the rear wing.

I haven’t explained well, sorry, but some people think McLaren have found a cunning way around the regulations, and some people think they’re just being thorough.


Hi james,

Theres not been much said of force india or sauber, how have they been doing?


Morning James, could comment on the below article from Speed TV website and do you think there is any truth in these reports.

There have also been some insider rumblings – most notably from within Red Bull Racing – about the design of the new McLaren MP4-25 car.

It is believed that some of the air flowing into the air box above Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button’s heads is being channeled not to the engine, but also to the rear of the car for aerodynamic purposes.


I’m not sure about McLaren this year. It seems that they will be playing catch up again. Ferrari to lead the way it appears.


Hmm it’s ashame that Mercedes are clearly off the pace. I don’t think schumi never tries to top the time. I am worried that he does a Luca boder next year. James what do u think of MS performance.?

It’s hard to convince that he is up to his pace.


He’ll never do a ‘Luca Badoer’. He might not be able to be as dominant as before, but he’ll be competitive, and he’s been able to squeeze wins out of cars not normally up to the challenge, so he’ll be at the front, but it’s gonna be interesting to see if he’ll right at the top.

MS is a 7 times WDC, Badoer never won anyu points let alone made it to the podium. Their in a different league.

it wasnt me, it was my sister

you are right. He’s got more talent on a toe nail, than badoer on his full bodie. And i am not sure mercedes, is so far off the pace. He is very dangerous still. he’ll beat rosberg , i dont have any doubt about it.


Personally, i think he’s still got the speed. I’m not a Schumi fan, but, i’d say he’s still got it. Badoer was never on the pace through out his entire career in F1. Schumi has been known to do all right. If Mercedes can deliver, so will he.


1. I love the BBC coverage but as so many have said, thanks be to god for this site Mr A! Completely changed the whole perspective of the sport for so many I rekon…

its like the season never ends! in a GOOD way!

2. I can’t yet decide who to bet on?!

I love Felipe and would love him to tump a field of class…

I used to loath Alonso but have grown to be so intrigued by him… and he’s a Ferrari man now so obviously….

My ‘former’ hero, the rainmeister, is back….

I have a feeling its between Vettel and Alonso, plus Hamilton harrasssing….

Sig. Enzo deciding the victor from above!

cheers James Allen and roll on the new season!


I think there are some teams that are hiding their true pace at this stage, which highlights the confusion among many people to who is fastest at this stage.


Very surprising pace from Hulk and Williams car!!

I’d love to see him on podium. Well, one of Williams’ car should grab pole and steal all the attention away from the big teams.

And I’ll be very satisfied if Hulk can perform better than Rosberg in Williams.

it wasnt me, it was my sister

he has more potential i think. We’ll see.


Thanks James for the reports provided. Testing has been a mysterious event this month. Everyone’s getting excited about whom theyre supporting. Reading your article gives us a better clue to who’s where at the moment. Been watching the live timing at Williams which is helpful too. But all in all it’s still testing. In race situation it’s going to be another story all together. 19 races will decide who’s the best.

Noticed that Ferrari has been using some sort of a wheel cover but not protruding out like 2009. I wondered if that’s against the rule. Would appreciate if you could clarify this or if you have heard any protest on it. Thanks.


I’ve just read the Spanish sports reports for today’s testing in Montmeló and some short interviews with Fernando where he maintains that the F10 is the best car he’s ever driven. He also added to that remark that even though it’s the best car he’s driven, that it doesn’t mean that it’s the best car and that, that will only be made known in Bahrein and the opening races of the season. He also said that the team had tried different tyres as this detail is so important this season and that pushing the car to it’s limits on long stints with heavy fuel loads has been very important and that the car felt like a dream. He also maintains that he feels the mIn rivals will be McLaren, Red Bull and maybe Mercedes.

Obviously from my point of view I hope that Fernando really does have a competitive car as he provides the fans with great moments when on top form and without a competitive car, you ain’t got no chance in F1.

It’s gonna be interesting for sure!


Best is also very subjective. I could be the best just because its a Ferrari


I think all he’s saying is that for him it’s the most complete car HE has personaly driven in F1… There’s nothing wrong with that or contravertial I think.


looks like lotus are picking up the pace, and starting to look like renault are going down the field 😉


Hmmm… I noticed at lunch time ‘Autosports headlines on how dominant Ferrari were’ Well that soon changed.

Sometimes I wonder about the quality of journalists… Everyone got carried away the previous day about Mark Webbers time….

For me we will only know the true picture in Bahrain…. great isn’t it…

But even then it will be 4 or 5 races before we really know because of

1. development

2. Stratergy

3. Outside temp variations

4. Getting used to the unknowns

Its going to be a great season…


hi this is my first time to me on this blog but i gotta say it is the best

james can i ask u a question if u dont mind is this ferrari new diffuser will give them big advantage or just minor and can bring it to bahrain if they dont test it this week?

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