Sebastian Vettel Still Fastest in Second Day of Testing in Barcelona
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News February 23, 2016
Photo: Scuderia Ferrari
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel continued to top the time sheets in Formula One's preseason testing on Tuesday, setting the fastest time for the second consecutive day.
Vettel was seven tenths of a second faster than RedBull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, who also used Pirelli's new ultra-soft tire compound in his fast lap.
“It was a good day. We did pretty much every run on our schedule and run plans are always pretty optimistic so I think we’ll take that today. We put in over 100 laps and we ran pretty faultlessly. It was good for me to get a lot more laps. We also tried a few compounds, which maybe is not so relevant at this time of year but it was good to try them anyways. So, for me, a positive two days; you can’t ask for too much more. I’m looking forward to next week’s test now – I’ll have just two more days and then it’s Melbourne. I’m just excited to roll it over now and to get to Australia.” said Ricciardo.
Vettel's time of 1 minute, 22.810 seconds at the Circuit de Catalunya was almost two seconds quicker than the pole position in Spain last year on the same track. Vettel also was fastest on Monday, ahead of defending three time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
"So far the first thing that matters is that the car is reacting and doing what I asked for," Vettel said.
Vettel had a small hiccup before the end of the afternoon session, when his car stopped on the track with a mechanical problem, bringing out the red flag.
Force India’s Sergio Perez was third on soft tires, and Nico Rosberg was fourth for Mercedes on medium tires, two seconds slower than Vettel's time. Rosberg ran 172 laps, the most of any driver. Vettel had 126 while Hamilton drove 156 laps on Monday. A race at the Circuit de Catalunya is 66 laps.
“I’m pretty happy with my first day in the VJM09. Everything went according to plan and we covered lots of laps. The baseline of the car shows good potential and I’m already feeling quite comfortable with the car. There are still lots of things for us to explore on the aero and mechanical side, but we managed to complete almost the entire programme and we are definitely moving in the right direction.” said Perez.
"That was an F1 marathon today," said Rosberg, who drove for more than 800 kilometers (500 miles). "It's great to see that we are already able to do a lot of mileage. Incredible. The opposition are chasing us hard and we need to keep being innovative to stay ahead. Overall, it's been a great start to the testing program."
Honda-Mclaren driver Fernando Alonso made his debut in testing by driving 119 laps, another ray of light for McLaren after a rough season last year.
"Big day. Proud of the team," said Alonso, Alonso signed with McLaren through the end of next season.
Marcus Ericsson was fifth for Sauber, which will only debut its 2016 car when teams return to Barcelona for the final tests of the season on March 1-4.
Esteban Gutierrez finished sixth for the Haas F1 Team, the American-led team debuting in F1 this season. The team had to reinforce its front wings after a failure in the car driven by Romain Grosjean, who finished 10th on Monday.
“It was a very positive day for us, especially as a new team. It was very exciting to do the first lap. Even though it was an installation lap, it was a very special moment. After months of analysing, learning about the car, the different strategies, to finally get a feeling for the car was very important.
“I really want to thank the whole team because they have done a really big effort. Obviously, we found ourselves with some very basic problems, but we have reacted in a very positive way and the guys are working day and night. We have done a very good job – 79 laps today. So, pretty much what we wanted to do – a lot of miles. We’ll continue this program for the rest of the week.” said Gutierrez.
Renault, returning to F1 as a full team after taking over Lotus, endured problems for the second consecutive day. British rookie driver Jolyon Palmer ran only 37 laps after software issues on Monday, then completed 42 on Tuesday before his car stopped on the track with a power-unit problem.
“The positives from today are immediately apparent. We were able to run a good programme in the morning, covering a lot of what we wanted to do. The car feels good and forgiving and provides a great baseline for us to work forwards. Unfortunately we did stop running early in the afternoon, but my overall analysis of today is most certainly positive.” said Palmer
A red flag came out near the end of the morning session when Max Verstappen stopped on Turn 13 with a mechanical failure in his Toro Rosso. The car had to be towed back to the garage.
“Today was Max’ first day driving the STR11, so it’s good to get his feedback and compare it to Carlos’. We already had a few small chassis-side updates today, which appear to be working okay. Generally, the reliability was also good. This morning we had a minor electrical issue that needed a reset in the garage and after that it was okay. To cover 121 laps on day two of the test is extremely encouraging given that this week is all about putting mileage on the car and concentrating on all the new systems that we’ve had to introduce quickly. So we can be happy with today’s progress.” said technical director James Key.