Jerez Test Day 2: Lotus Show Strong One Lap Pace as Hamilton is sidelined
Posted By:   |  06 Feb 2013   |  6:52 pm GMT  |  45 comments

Romain Grosjean continued Lotus’ strong form during this week’s first winter test by topping the times of Day 2 at Jerez, as the teams piled on the mileage, some covering around 100 laps while Lewis Hamilton’s opening day at Mercedes came to an abrupt end due to a brake failure.

Hamilton had completed just fifteen laps this morning and had just done a lap in the 1m 19.5s, when a hydraulic brake line at the back caused him to run straight on at the Dry Sack hairpin and lightly in to the barriers. The back-straight leading in to Dry Sack is the second of two unofficial DRS zones agreed among the teams – the other being the pit straight.

The F1W04 suffered front-wing and suspension damage and, like yesterday, Mercedes chose to cut the day short in order to fix the problems and get some serious laps under their belt with Nico Rosberg back in the car tomorrow.

“I hit the brake and, for a split second, it was working,” he said in his media session this evening. “But then the pedal went straight down. It just wasn’t working and then I had to brace for the impact.

“You have to keep looking forwards and remain positive. The guys in the garage, they are not trying to have this kind of thing happen. They are working as hard as they can back at the factory, so I am glad that this didn’t happen at the last test at Barcelona. That would really suck.

“From the few short laps that I completed this morning, my general feeling was very positive. I got a good understanding of where the base of the car is and, whilst we need to do work in certain areas, it was good to have some laps to get a feel for what those areas are.”

With just 29 laps on the board in two days, it has not been a good start to the season for Mercedes and it comes at a time when new management are looking at ways to improve the technical side of the team.

There were no such worries for Grosjean as the Enstone squad focused on short runs using the soft tyre. In a repeat of the kind of form they showed at the first test last year, Grosjean recorded six laps in the 1m.18s, with his fastest being 1.6s faster than his personal best yesterday, meaning only himself and yesterday’s pace setter Jenson Button have broken the seventy-nine second mark. Grosjean did cause a red flag very late in the day as his E21 came to halt with two minutes remaining, suspected to be a very low-fuel run.

With McLaren alternating their drivers this week, it was Sergio Perez’s chance to have his first taste of McLaren machinery. They opted to fill their morning with short runs and Perez posted a quickest time 7/10ths of a second slower than Button managed yesterday. At this early stage it would be unfair to forensically compare these times since we don’t know what McLaren have been testing over the two days, and the mornings in Jerez have been considerably colder than the warmer conditions later on, in which Button set his late fast lap yesterday.

Meanwhile, at Ferrari, a very upbeat Felipe Massa spent the morning collecting data. This afternoon the team started pushing the development envelope, the session was filled with three long runs as the team tested different exhaust systems and a new floor and Massa is very pleased with the way testing has started.

“The car really is on another planet compared to last year’s,” he said. “The first impression is positive, it’s much better balanced. Here for example, grip is very important and I could feel a good response from the rear of the car, it’s more solid. It’s a relief because this saves us time. Last year we wasted almost a month sorting out problems. So we can accelerate development ahead of the first race,” added Massa.

Mark Webber spent a second day in the RB9 in Jerez, racking up over 100 laps today, among 174 in total. The team spent the majority of the day on medium length runs. During these Webber lapped incredibly consistently, generally, laps within 2/10ths of one another over a six lap stint.

“In terms of consistency I was very happy with the last few days and myself,” said the Australian. “The car gives me the confidence to push, and we can certainly build from there in terms of development.

“I’ve done 170 (laps) or more, which is a good total for the first two days with a new car. Overall, it’s been very good. The car gives me the confidence to push pretty hard and that’s always an indication that you have something you can build on.”

Behind Grosjean, and as we saw yesterday, Paul Di Resta and Daniel Ricciardo were the best of the rest. They headed a very tight bunch, with Di Resta to Massa in eighth position being covered by less than a second. The Force India and Toro Rosso cars were particularly closely matched over their longer runs, indicating that they may have surpassed the likes of Sauber and Williams with their winter developments.

Sauber and Williams opted to leave Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado in their respective cars for a second day running. Hulkenberg completed a huge amount of laps during a trouble free day and found himself less than 2/10ths off Webber at the climax. Maldonado had his running restricted by a clutch issue this morning, yet he still managed 71 laps in Williams’ 2012 car.

James Rossiter had his first taste of Formula One machinery since 2008, taking over from Di Resta in the final hour of the day. The Force India simulator driver completed nineteen laps and ended the day faster than both Caterham and Marussia.

Marussia’s newly appointed race driver Luis Razia had a tough baptism; he missed the majority of the day due to engine troubles this morning.

Jerez Test Day 2
1. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m18.218s 95 Laps
2. Paul di Resta Force India 1m19.003s + 0.785s 95
3. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m19.134s + 0.916s 83
4. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m19.338s + 1.120s 101
5. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m19.502s + 1.284s 99
6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m19.519s + 1.301s 15
7. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m19.572s + 1.354s 81
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m19.914s + 1.696s 78
9. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m20.693s + 2.475s 71
10. James Rossiter Force India 1m21.273s + 3.055s 19
11. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m21.311s + 3.093s 88
12. Luiz Razia Marussia 1m23.537s + 5.319s 31

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rob in victoria bc

“In this car on the steering wheel I think I’ve got at least double the amount of buttons and switches that I had on the previous one,” said Hamilton.

“I’ve already got rid of quite a few of the buttons as soon as I got here but I still have way more than I had before.”

If anybody knows, what buttons/dials/switches did/would he get rid of , and why?


whats up with the ear muffs thingy on the engine air intake on the lotus. wasn’t there at their launch???????


Last year, these were the intakes for the passive DRS. You were right, they weren’t there for the launch, but here they are.


I think the Lotus was pretty consistent also over several laps in the 1.19s & 20s – very much like this time last year. But big guns will find some gains in Barcelona and most teams will have new front & rear wings. It is very encouraging though that Romain has been able to find instantaneous 1 lap pace over the field as this stage.


Felipe just went a 1:17:879- it’s starting to warm up!


+1 Looks very consistant. Maybe they will surprize all in quali this year.


So will Lotus


They have a big Genii sign painted on the side of the car. That’s space they need to sell before the season. They are quickest in testing, no surprise to me.


I wonder whether they were hoping that space would be filled with Honeywell or even Emirates? I believe there was a team also pitching for the Emirates budget


James Is it known that Lotus were looking at Emirates ?The Bahraini & Abu Dharbi sheiks seem to like Kimi on his return to his podiums there.


No, I’m not saying they were going for it. I heard a team was chasing that deal, but not had it confirmed which team, in any, that was

Tornillo Amarillo

Times say nothing, failures and quantity of laps do.

Good for Lotus, it seems they have it all, so bad news again for Mercedes if they want to fight for the P4 in the WCC. Early times though.


Button set 1.18.8 on hard compound.

Romaian set 1.18.2 on soft compound.

can nvr read too much into winter test


Mercedes is making progress, backwards. How can they expect to bolt new parts when the very basics such as brakes, fail. Before you know it we’ll be hearing Ross talking about how it took 3/4 of the seasion to ‘understand’ the car, how they need to speed up the rate of development, and how next seasion they will learn from their mistakes. I feel like I’m listening to Craig Pollack and Dave Richards describing BAR/Honda. At what point does Mercedes management in Germany take a hard look at the staff and say that its no longer enough to change the managers and start digging deeper and really change things from the bottom up? At what point, does Mercedes say this is not something that can be turned around and shutter the whole thing? What Mercedes (Honda) needs is 1000s of K/ms pounded out at test track… the lack of testing is killing them. Teams should be able to test to the limit of their budgets.


That picture of the Lotus looks mean… Some F1 cars just look the business.


Well at least Lewis was quicker than the McLaren !


but it wasn’t exactly a fair comparison, as Perez is still new to the team and car, so is Hamilton in Merc AMG.


Yeah, Perez’ Mclaren. Which isn’t saying much since they’re both new to there respective teams.


… Lewis Hamilton 15 laps in cold morning conditions, in a new car, in a new team 1:19.519. Sergio P. after 85 laps, all day long, 1:19.572. Nico Rosberg yesterday 1:20.846.

I know it is only testing and early days and doesn’t mean much – but still nice. Can’t wait for the first qualifying + race!


Lewis Hamilton will wring that cars neck…

Great stuff, I cant wait either.. : )


Found this interesting tweet – thought I would share:

Lewis Hamilton said he was “quite happy” with the Merc, but adds: “We need more aero, definitely. I definitely notice the difference” (to McLaren)


He was constantly mentioning the lack of aero at McLaren compared to the Red Bull so if the Merc is even worse I doubt they will be front-runners at the start of the season.


What is the purpose behind giving James Rossiter a test drive? I have to admit I’ve never heard of him before this and the cynic in me believes that this may have something to do with money rather than simulator/track analysis? Afterall, aren’t the drivers supposed to be doing this? Do his credentials suggest he is suitable for F1, even at a testing level?


Forgot to say. Force India are using him as their simulator driver, probably for those times when Paul and whoever his tame mate will be arent available like at race weekends. The test will probably give him a bit of a feel for corelation between simulator and track.


Rossiter didn’t really get higher than F3 because of a lack of money. so to suggest he’s only in the car because of it is a way off base. He’s spent the last few years as a works driver for Lotus on their Evora GT program, healping to develop the GTE and GT4 class cars. Before that he was driving Andretti Autosports Acura LMP car in the American Le Mans Series, winning races.

He was being touted as a potential top liner at one point but never got the chance.


Merecedes – with 2 major incidents in 2 days and very little laps under their belt, they seem to be in the worst shape of all teams at this stage in testing. Lot of pressure on all the high profile people viz Lauda, Toto and Brawn.


Did you notice the time they posted in the little running they have had ?

No great cause for alarm.

DiResta was meant to be the only one who posted consistent fast laps, Button’s time was highly impressive for Hards.


James you said “The Force India and Toro Rosso cars were particularly closely matched over their longer runs, indicating that they may have surpassed the likes of Sauber and Williams with their winter developments.”

Can you explain this in greater detail as to how you infer Force India and Toro Rosso have likely surpassed Sauber or Williams in development.


Williams are running last year’s car at this test.


Maybe Sauber didn’t do any long runs, therefore James cannot compare Sauber’s times with TR and FI?!


A lot of people have talked about this year’s championship being a fight between Alonso and Vettel. Lotus were not far off last year and if they’ve managed to improve at a quicker rate than Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren (and Grojean’s times look pretty good so far) they may be able to mount a proper challenge this year. I bet there’s a lot of neutral fans out there that would love to see Kimi challenge for the title again.


The big three have such a budget advantage over Lotus, I can’t see them winning the development race.


People sai that about Brawn too.


I agree that Adrian Newey & Red Bull did eclipse Brawn over the season, and that the double diffuser had a massive impact.

However the car was still performing well, and out performing many…


Brawn didn’t exactly win the development race though did they? They started the season with a the fastest car but were progressively reigned in by Red Bull.

Button had a huge lead in the first half of the season and ended up falling bum first over the finish line.


Brawn didn’t win the development race.

They didn’t have the money to develop the car through the season and their relative performance dropped off massively.

What they did was pull a blinder in the off-season with the diffuser and left every other team scrambling to catch up.

Had they not built up the enormous cushion they gained in the first half of the season they would not have won the championship.


Brawn had one of the most expensive cars in the history of the sport to begin with and once the other teams had double diffusers they barely held on.


That’s more wishful thinking at this stage.

We really shouldn’t read much into the performance after first 2 days of testing.

The top team will not bring the final upgrades e.g. front wings until the final test.

I am 100% sure no team was chasing laptimes today. This is much more important than 1 headline in tomorrow’s newspaper.


+1. The only worry is Kimi’s quali pace and Lotus development rate through the season. For Kimi to challenge till the end, he needs to get few early wins as later all the top-3 teams will be faster than Lotus (last year was an example).


Kimi realised in the early races that he needed to be consistent rather than taking risks, as his results show.

Far from the car slowing as the season progressed, Kimi became quicker, as evidenced by his win?

The team has the skills, and could be a major upset to their rivals so long as there is enough money. I expect/ hope them to be challenging for wins and perhaps knock Ferrari out of second place by the season end. Kimi is very fast, and if Grojean can rack up points too that will be possible.




Probably out of context but what are the different responsibilities of a technical director (like brawn was at Ferrari) and his present role as team principal….

My understanding is that his role has become more managerial now, whereas at Ferrari he was more hands on with the technical direction of the team…

Given this, do you think brawn is probably better utilized in a more technical role than he is in a managerial role?


Technical Directors’ responsibilities vary from team to team. For example, back in early 2000s, Brawn was the TD of Ferrari, but he wasn’t responsible for designing cars (that was Rory Bryne as Chief Designer), instead he’s responsible for operational/technical side of things. Whereas Newey at McLaren, also a TD but he design cars.


All this bonds well for a mighty close season ahead.

The fact that we haven’t seen teams roll out the dreaded paint and that telescopic gadget atop the cars means no one has any issues concerning pace to write home about.

Now if F1 was like a Jerez test i.e. one car on the circuit at a time, then the likes of Grosjean would have done very well for speed, he doesn’t lack.

As for Red Bull, they’re looking mighty intimidating and seeing as 2013 is simply a continuation of the 2012 episode, maybe they should just hand them their trophies (but as they say, whenever there’s life, there’s hope)

Regards Ferrari, looks like Massa is ready to blow, so Alonso better put in those extra miles on his home simulator or else he might get a surprise in Australia.

Now Perez, I can’t really judge him at this moment for he had a quiet day, maybe this is the right strategy i.e. keep your cards close to your chest till when it really counts.

And as for the mid field runners, I would be mighty surprised if Force India turned out to be faster than Sauber and Williams taking into account the fact that one of Force India’s bosses had a pretty tough year in 2012 so might not have invested as much in the 2013 car.


Actually Ferrari tried the aero paint…


… and Force India were running the periscope too I am sure, but this is normal. Hope Merc manage to get some proper miles today.

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