After a relatively slow day in the world of F1 yesterday (hence no posts!), things got back underway today as the second pre-season test of the year started in Jerez, Spain.
This time, eleven of the twelve current F1 teams were present, all with their 2011 machinery. Nothing absolutely extraordinary happened, as is the usual in testing. However, there is still plenty to write about. Let's start with the fastest lap times, courtesy of www.autosport.com:
Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m20.709s 2. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m21.483s + 0.774s 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.522s + 0.813s 4. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m21.755s + 1.046s 5. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.914s + 1.205s 6. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.689s + 1.980s 7. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m23.472s + 2.763s 8. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m23.504s + 2.795s 9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.963s + 3.254s 10. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m24.458s + 3.749s 11. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m25.086s + 4.377s 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m34.968s + 14.259s
It is wrong to draw any conclusion about any team's form based solely on lap times from this one test, but we can still draw some interesting conclusions when we take into account certain other factors.
First of all, everything seemed to have gone right for Ferrari. They were easily the fastest today and the car ran the most laps of all. This is great news, as they seem to have got the reliability sorted. I think they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Sergio Pérez in the Sauber surprised me a little. Rookie driver, maybe doesn't know the car well, but it looks like he did an excellent job. Of course, we have no idea how much fuel he (or any of the other teams, for that matter) had on board, but this result should be huge boost to his (and his team's) confidence. However, we cannot forget that the Sauber showed similar pace in last season's testing and come the first race it was clearly one of the slower cars on the grid...
Nothing really extraordinary in the midtable, with Webber, Ricciardo, Hamilton and Alguersuari all doing a solid job for their team. Perhaps it is a little strange that Ricciardo proved faster than Alguersuari, using the same machinery. Again, we do not know their respective fuel loads.
Petrov is slightly disappointing for Renault in eighth, especially after they topped the first pre-season test. Petrov really needs to step up his game, with Kubica out for the forseeable future, he has to take on a lead role within the team. In order to do just that he will have to show he can cut out the silly mistakes that held him back last season, and really pick up his pace.
Rosberg in ninth is definitely the disappointment of this session. The consensus among the press being that Mercedes looks like it has once again failed to deliver a car capable of challenging for the championship. They quite fancied their chances before testing began, but I think they are going to need major upgrades before they can challenge for race wins, or even the podium. Then again, this is only testing and we won't know for sure until the first Grand Prix.
Glock and Maldonado had tremendous reliability issues, which explains their relatively slow lap times. Their mechanics have some serious work to do overnight, with testing already limited as it is, every lap in pre-season counts...