Max Chilton topped the timesheet on the opening day of the second in-season test of the current campaign, the Marussia driver setting a lap of 1:26.434 on Pirelli’s supersoft tyre to give a slightly skewed look to the times on a day when bad weather and red flags complicated matters at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
The morning session was conducted in wet conditions as persistent rain fell across the track and it was, rather predictably, Mercedes who led the way, with Lewis Hamilton setting the pace with a time of 1:44.291 on the intermediate Pirelli tyre.
Felipe Massa was second fastest in the morning, followed by Red Bull Racing Test and Reserve driver Sébastien Buemi, who was getting his first taste of the team’s RB10.
The morning session was made more difficult by a number of red flags. Kimi Raikkonen suffered a power unit problem on his first run that kept him out action for the morning and Chilton stopped at Turn 5 after an hour. Jean-Eric Vergne had two early stoppages too, bringing out the red flags on his first lap out when he pulled over between Turns 9 and 10 and he then also stopped on his second lap out. He too failed to set a time in the morning session.
With the afternoon forecast to be drier, the lunch break was brought forward to midday and the second session extended until 6pm to try to give the team’s dry running.
Buemi’s afternoon ended well before that marker, however, the Swiss driver sidelined by a gearbox problem midway through. With the team focusing on correlation work with their simulator, Buemi did, however, manage 54 laps of the circuit, which is more than Raikkonen put in.
After failing to set a time in the morning the Finn completed just 18 laps in the afternoon before he stopped again at Turn 4 once again bringing out the red flags. Raikkonen ended the day with the fourth fastest time, however.
Ahead of him were Hamilton, who spent much of the afternoon in P1, Lotus tester Charles Pic, who set a time of 1:216.661 on the soft tyre and pace setter Chilton, whose supersoft lap was set in the final 10 minutes of the session.
Behind Raikkonen, Vergne was fifth-fastest in front of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa was seventh ahead of Jenson Button. Eighth place went to Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi who ended his session with a big off that saw him hit the barriers hard ship considerable damage to the front end of his CT05.
He was followed on the timesheet by Buemi and finally Sauber tester Giedo van der Garde, who amassed the day’s biggest total of laps with 86.
Barcelona Test – Day One Times
1. Max Chilton Marussia 1:26.434 60 laps
2. Charles Pic Lotus1:26.661 70 laps
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.674 79 laps
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:26.965 20 laps
5. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:27.724 52 laps
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:27.727 53 laps
7. Felipe Massa Williams 1:27.756 55 laps
8. Jenson Button McLaren1:28.333 74 laps
9. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:30.101 72 laps
10. Sebastien Buemi Red Bull Racing 1:31.440 54 laps
11. Giedo Van der Garde Sauber 1:31.783 86 laps