Thursday, 10 February 2011

Day one of Jerez testing

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
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 PĂ©rez 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...

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