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Barcelona test, Day 3 – Rosberg pushes the Merc, Webber does two GPs in a day
Barcelona test, Day 3 – Rosberg pushes the Merc, Webber does two GPs in a day
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Feb 2011   |  7:56 pm GMT  |  72 comments

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time today in Barcelona, in a dry afternoon session after a wet morning, which gave the teams a chance to evaluate the Pirelli intermediate tyre.

Photo: Mercedes

The Mercedes driver did a lap of 1m23.168s on a qualifying simuation run towards the end of the day. As always not too much can be read into the headline lap times as many other drivers did not do a qualifying simulation run, preferring to focus their dry running time on a race simulation.

Vitaly Petrov set the second fastest time ahead of Lewis Hamilton, whose McLaren again suffered some niggling problems. But that didn’t stop him from doing over 90 laps in the day. “We’ve had a few technical issues with this car, but the guys have been working incredibly to rectify them,” said Hamilton. “To get more than 90 laps under my belt today was a big positive.”

Mark Webber covered an enormous 139 laps today, more than two times the distance of the Spanish Grand Prix. He did a race simulation in the afternoon, but didn’t manage a qualifying simulation, so he was only fifth fastest. Interestingly, although the track was still rubbering in after the rain, a comparison of the pace between Webber’s 66 race laps en route to victory last season in Barcelona and today’s pace shows that it is at least three seconds a lap slower due to the changes in the cars and the Pirelli tyres. Last May his long second stint was mainly in the 1m 25s, while today his faster stint was in the 1m 28s and 29s.

Felipe Massa also did a race simulation in the afternoon in the Ferrari, with similar pace on the long runs to the Red Bull. The Ferrari is looking like a good car, but we have yet to establish where it stands in outright pace on a Q3 qualifying special compared to the Red Bull. Last season that was Red Bull’s ace. Let’s hope we get to see that tomorrow.

There was certainly no strong indication from today’s long runs of much of a difference between the Ferrari and Red Bull. Rosberg did two long runs rather than a race simulation, but the pace was quite a bit slower than the Red Bull and Ferrari.

Toro Rosso gave young Australian Daniel Ricciardo a run again today, sharing the car with Sebastien Buemi. Giorgio Mondini had a run in the HRT car today, alongside F1 returnee Narain Kartikeyan.

Jarno Trulli lost some time with a water leak in the Lotus, but sounded very positive about the new car and the performance it is capable of. “Overall I have a good feeling about the car,” he said. “It’s good to see that without doing many miles, and it being my first day in the car today on the new tyres in Barcelona, I managed to do some consistently good lap times throughout the end of the afternoon session.” Trulli did a couple of runs with laps in the low 1m26s high 1m25s, which compared well to Timo Glock in the Virgin, when he was doing similar short runs at the end of the day. The Virgin however covered twice the distance of the Lotus today.

Meanwhile in the ongoing debate about whether the first race of the season should be cancelled, Bernie Ecclestone has said that he will leave the decision up to the ruling family in Bahrain. This leaves the way open for the race to be postponed rather than cancelled, with the accompanying legal and insurance aspects in consideration. Ecclestone said that a decision on the March 13th event will be made on Tuesday. Although it’s a packed schedule this year and spaces are hard to find – especially for a fly-away race from a logistical point of view – the common sense approach would be postponement with a review of the political situation at a later date in the season. If

Mark Webber became the first prominent F1 player to say that the race should not go ahead on March 13 and that Bahrain should be given time to sort out some fundamental issues. “When you hear of people losing their lives, this is a tragedy,” he said. “It’s probably not the best time to go there for a sporting event. They have bigger things, bigger priorities.” I think that reflects the view of many who work in the sport.

Don’t forget you can follow all the tweets from the teams, drivers and journalists covering the test in real time before, during and after the testing on It gives a much more rounded picture of what’s going on than live text commentary written by a single source.

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.168s 92 laps
2. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m23.463s + 0.295s 93 laps
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m23.858s + 0.690s 93 laps
4. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m24.815s + 1.647s 60 laps
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m24.995s + 1.827s 139 laps
6. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m25.454s + 2.286s 48 laps
7. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m25.557s + 2.389s 115 laps
8. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m25.720s + 2.552s 102 laps
9. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m26.155s + 2.987s 31 laps
10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.508s + 3.340s 123 laps
11. Timo Glock Virgin 1m26.598s + 3.430s 97 laps
12. Giorgio Mondini Hispania 1m28.178s + 5.010s 39 laps
13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m28.329s + 5.161s 42 laps
14. Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 1m30.722s + 7.554s 32 laps

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james would it be possible to perhaps put forward the idea above to someone from the fia, fota or pirelli?

i agree with what stefmeister said about how tyre strategy should be left more open & upto the teams much how it used to be prior to refueling.

had some very good races back then where teams and drivers were able to do whatever they wanted in terms of which compounds they ran and if they wanted to pit once, twice or not at all.

think that would work a lot better and would proberly have a lot of support from most fans.


So, “Bernie Ecclestone has said that he will leave the decision up to the ruling family in Bahrain.”

Bernie has gone down in my estimation (and Mark Webber has risen).

Bernie should have told the ruling family in Bahrain that F1 wasn’t coming while ever their police and military were shooting the population. Leaving the decision to the royalty actually encourages them to come down harder on the protesters so as not to lose the event.

Don’t expect a rational decision from Bahrain’s royalty, Bernie!


It looks like the race is off, at least for March.

“The Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa said: “We felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest.””

I suspect that Bernie had them make the ‘decision’ for insurance/liability reasons.


James do you think McLaren are in for another 2009? Their car hasn’t shown any good pace and is unreliable as well, does anyone know if they have alluded to what is causing the lack of pace yet?


Well I was watching it on track this afternoon and it looked tricky – Hamilton couldn’t use the throttle through Turns 11/12 how he normally would, I think he’s frustrated by tyres also


I was at the test yesterday and Saturday and would like give to give Virgin and in particular their Comunity and Communications guy (didn´t catch his name) and MASSIVE shout out as they gave me and others a tour of the Paddock, their garage and the pit lane. I can hardly explain how incredible it was and is a day that will stay with me forever. To be that close to the sport is just mind blowing and i had a smile the length of the pit lane the entire day. I found out about it on the James Allen twitter page and having not really used twitter myself before was blown away by it´s potential. I still have a smile on my face while writting this. If anyone has the opertunity to attend a test you should certainly go, with access to all the Grandstands even without the tour you get to see the sport closer for example i saw the Lotus guys fooling around in the garge putting stickers on each others backs from the grandstand opposite the pits. What a weekend!!


The problem is that we could start to not say “Hamilton overtakes Massa” or something similar, and then interpret every race incidence/overtake as “new tyres and rear wing overtakes old tyres and locked used rear wing”. On the other side, this new technology on wings and tyres fabrication is going to allow some drivers to start overtaking for first time in their careers, namedly Massa, Vettel, Rosberg and Button, now in equal conditions as Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher. This is pretty for the sport, as it would be for football to make Messi run with only one shoe at certain moments so defenders could play better.


I still think Red Bull are sandbagging a bit, i think come the start of the season they will be well out in front with Ferrari close behind. Status quo really from last year.

Mercedes look to be struggling a lot with pace, i hope they can sort that out.


Once again RB may be class of theirs own. Rosberg on quali lap made better time of only 1,8 sec than Webbers’ the best one. Last May Hamilton (qualification winner) had quali lap quicker than his race lap by almost 3 secs. That means that Webber race laps might be better than Rosberg ones more than 1,2sec. It’s a huge G…A…P.


webber did a 59 lap race simulation at barcelona today and required 3 stops with some big performance drop-offs:


29.7, 29.8, 30.1, 31.4, 32.0, 32.0, 32.4, 33.2, P

27.4, 27.9, 28.9, 29.8, 30.2, 30.8, 31.1, 31.3, 31.9, 32.4, 32.6, 33.2, 33.6, P

29.9, 29.6, 29.8, 30.3, 30.8, 30.2, 30.8, 30.4, 30.6, 30.7, 30.6, 32.6, 31.8, 31.3, 31.1, 32.3, 32.5, 32.3, 33.6, 33.2, P

24.9, 28.3, 29.1, 28.4, 28.3, 28.3, 29.0, 28.5, 29.0, 29.4, 28.6, 29.1, 32.0, 29.2, 30.1, 29.8, 30.3, 30.7


forgot to say that he went soft-soft-hard-soft during those runs.


i see drivers are starting to speak out about pirellis poor tyres.


“”Today I probably drove a little bit easier on the first long run, but the tyres just go away so fast and there’s nothing you can do about it.

“The second run I tried to look after it even more and it was like driving an out-lap, very slow and not particularly exciting. It lasted a little bit longer but it didn’t feel like I was really racing the car.”

He feels the tyre strategy is making driving less of a challenge.””


“”If that was in a race situation and someone was on a different strategy then we might have some racing, but the only thing we’ve got to keep an eye on, unfortunately, is that we’re going to have such a big difference in speed that if someone is doing something different and you’re trying to go longer or whatever, it won’t be a fight, you’ll just go straight through and disappear.””

hopefully more speak out against them & hopefully by mid season we’ll get proper tyres and can get back to proper racing without races turning into a complete joke.

i dont want to see races decided purely because of tyres not lasting more than about 20 laps and because of that causing some stupid performance gaps between each car.

wheres the fun in watching one car catch another at 3/4/5 seconds a lap due to tyres & then cruising straght by?

its going to be like what happened when an established team caught a new team from 2010 with that sort of difference.

also hate teams been all forced down a specific stragegy simply because the tyres dictate it. teams should be able to stop as many or as few times as they wish & have the option to not stop at all if thats what they want to do. pushing everyone down one path with mandatory stops or by using tyres not fit for purpose isn’t racing, its a complete joke.


Certainly if the race were held today we’d have three stops minimum, maybe four. But Pirelli say that when it heats up for the race it’ll be two.


I agree, I think we’ve gone from one extreme (Bridgestone tyre range all been too durable) to the other extreme (Pirelli’s range of tyres all not been durable enough).

I don’t really mind the fact the softest compounds are wearing faster & more than the Bridgestone’s (Certainly the Bridgestone softer compounds was too durable), Im just not keen on the likelyhood of all the compounds wearing too quickly with everyone been forced into a 2 (Or more) stop strategy simply because even the hardest compounds are designed to wear out faster.

The Super-Soft’s seem to be going off after a few laps but lasting for about 15 laps with the Soft compound going about 20 laps, I actually think thats about right. What Im not as keen on is that the Medium/Hard compound’s don’t seem to be lasting that much longer & this is what will force everyone to do a 2nd tyre stop.

Id prefer something more like this:

Soft’s = Best performance, High Wear, last about 15-20 laps.

Medium’s = Maybe half second slower, Last around half race distance.

Hard’s = About 1 second slower, Can last a full race distance.

No mandatory stops, Just let Teams & Drivers do whatever they want with tyres during the races. If Hamilton wants to go flat out on Soft’s planning 2-stops while Button wants to No-Stop on Hard’s then let them & if they switch strategy Mid-Race & opt to switch to another compound they can.

I guess basically I’d just like the tyre strategy to be more open & free & down to teams/drivers rather than the FIA’s mandatory stop & Pirelli’s fast wearing range of tyres. I think the forced pit stops could hurt the racing just as I think the mandatory stop to run both compounds hurt the racing last year & how I think refueling did over the years prior to that.


Don’t quite agree here. Supersoft is too soft and will be changed before the start of the season, I reckon. Soft is lasting 12 laps, rather than 20.


Hats off to Mark Webber, the only current F1 driver who seems to have any backbone.

Shame on those that run F1 that the race has not already been cancelled (should never have gone there in the first place).


Sounds like someone’s got a chip on their shoulder.

I really don’t think it’s Webber’s fault he’s such a legend.


Now that the new adjustable wing will increase overtaking, the importance of a good quali position will decrease, so the pace of these long runs are even more informative. But does anyone know what the initial rules for the adjustable wing will be? Even it’s detractors can’t say that a procession like the last race last year, where a clearly faster driver/car can’t get past a slower one, isn’t a good advertisement for F1 (I’m not trying to diminish the nerve/skill Petrov, for example displayed). However just as detrimental would be cars overtaking and re-overtaking every other lap. Are there going to be rules as to how many consecutive laps a car needs to be a second behind the one in front before being allowed to overtake?


I’m not sure, as I have not been able to find any thing in the FIA 2011 Sporting Regs. But I’ve read reports saying that it will work this way:

(i) there will be an “overtaking area” in each circuit, of 600 metres at the end of the main straight – or any other; this will be announced on a race – by – race basis.

(ii) a line will be painted on the last corner before the “overtaking-area” straight. If the driver that’s following another passes that point less than 1 sec after the car in front, then he will be allowed to use the rear wing device on that overtaking area.

More info


I know I’ve made clear my criticisms of F1 recently, but really – I don’t want to see, as a fan, cars overtaking other cars because the car in front is simply harder on it’s tyres. To me, that’s semi-artificial, and the last thing I want to see in racing this year is more artifice.

Honestly, what is a race these days?

These are my personal two criteria for a race:

1) Those who take part finding the fastest limits within themselves athletically/psychologically and from their automobiles.

2) As much as possible, the person who is able to reach the greatest limits inside the usual risk-reward framework, should win the race.

Now, let’s talk about overtaking.

Overtaking is just one skill in motorsport, let’s not elevate it above all else. It seems to me we’ve gone to extraordinary lengths including snow plow front-wings, tall/skinny rear wings, banning refuelling, orchestrating retrograde tyres – all in the name of overtaking.

Let me argue, that to overtake another car on the track requires a significant speed advantage, usually well beyond one second per lap. And when it happens, I think it can be rather ugly competition when someone dives down the inside. What can the other person do? Either take the racing line and accept an accident or concede the position.

Sure, it’s a skill in one sense, but I’d rather see races won and lost on tenths of a second, not because the guy infront backed out of the guy behind’s accident.

My vote will always be: #1 get them to go flat-out attacking for 60+ laps, then within that framework look at making overtaking accessible.


Thank you Mark Webber for bringing the larger perspective into the picture.



I wholeheartedly agree with Webber.

“F1 rocks”!? How wrong would that be in Bahrein?! I’d feel sick! No Bahrein GP for me …


James what do you make of Daniel Ricciardo’s performance today?


Hi James, do you have any information on how many sets of tyres/pitstops it took Webber and Massa for the race distance?



Hey Bernie suddenly you need Australain grand prix!


A nice PR shout-out for Webber at the end there, nice job.

Many more drivers have said similar, Alonso, Rosberg and Vettel, but they are obviously not as prominent as the hero and English speaking commentators crush, Webber.


Well Webber does tend to speak his mind which I’m sure the commentator’s love, as opposed to “cardboard cutout” responses when asked questions. Also, being that this is an english based website, his comments would figure more prominently here, don’t you think?


Alonso, Vettel and Rosberg speak relatively fluent english too…

Plus Alonso/Vettel’s words hold more weight considering they are world champions


And Mark Webber being the head of the Grand Prix Driver’s Association for a numbr of years doesn’t hold weight?

9 Years of F1 GP racing experience doesn’t hold weight?

The drivers voted him to lead their interets in the GPDA. This isn’t a mandate to speak on their behalf?



Mark Webber vs Felipe Massa

1:29:01.999 vs 1:29:01.170!!! :-O


Are these the race simulations times? Incredible. I hope this slight difference remains the same for the first race.


I wouldn’t call this slight difference. It’s 0,8 second! But I don’t believe Ferrari is so much faster.


Is not a lap time, is a whole race simulation time. After 60 laps is about 0.012 sec. per lap. I think “slight” is too much.


Is there anymore rule changes or modification to come this year? Slow race doesn’t sound fun at all. Webber’s gap compare to last year is too slow. Maybe too much change isn’t that good after all.


Engineers will have made the cars quicker by the start of the European season.

Also bear in mind that psychologically, a driver will be slower in testing as their is more to gain from not driving the car on the limit.

My hunch would be that Webber will only be two seconds slower comes May.

I don’t think you’ll notice the difference though, whether on TV or at the track.


Hello James,

Between Mercedes and McLaren, wich one is ahead?

Thank you and keep up the fine work!


Did they have wets James and if so who ran them and what were the conclusions?


James, I’ve just read somewhere that if the Bahrain GP is finally cancelled, it could be possible to change the order between this one and Abu Dhabi. This way, Abu Dhabi would be the season opener, now on March, and Bahrain would be the last before Brazil, on November. Do you think this could be possible?


I doubt it would be feasible this year. Speactators would need to switch flights and hotels at very late notice.

It looks like Australia would be the season opener (as it should some people might say).

If the Bahrain event is rescheduled, the weekend before the Abu Dhabi GP seem to be the only possibility as ticket sales for Brazil have started and I assume might not be able to be moved at this stage.


Was reported on “Gulf News”, looks like McLaren get their get out of jail free then…

I bet Martin Whitmarsh is dancing with joy!

Harrison Vrbanjac

James, I wonder if FIA has any consideration to abandon idea of test ban cause it’s now more or less proven that ban it’s self is contra productive in meaning of new talents developing?

I mean that it’s great risk to miss next Hamilton or Vettel because teams can’t risk putting inexperience drivers in the cars ahead of maybe older but slower teammates. If they want to cut down costs, why not just set reasonable “roof” on the budget (something like NBA), then wins is going to depend on teams knowledge, tactics (on budget to) driver and you can afford to test and develop talents.


This “roof” was was Max Mosley’s budget cap idea (€40Mil at the time, I think). It was called off by the teams, which treatened to create their own new series if the idea went ahead.

Ferrari was the most outspoken team about it at the time.


How were the teams looking on the inters?

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