- Second Barcelona Test, Day One
Webber tops rain-affected dayLaurence Edmondson at the Circuit de Catalunya February 28, 2013
Inters 'most difficult' for Sauber
Chilton pleased with Marussia mileage
'Confident' Massa unsure of order
Hamilton 'really happy' with Mercedes progress
'We're not on our own out front' - Webber
Mark Webber set the fastest time on the opening day of the final test in Barcelona, making the most of a dry track in the afternoon to set a 1:22.693.
After a wet start to the day and several heavy showers in the morning, a dry line started to emerge in the afternoon and the teams were able to run slicks for the final 90 minutes. After a morning spent on intermediates and full wets, the times dropped quickly with Webber on top when the chequered flag fell after putting on a brand new set of soft tyres late in the day.
The Red Bull was 1.6s faster than Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes - who set his best lap on the medium tyres - with Jean-Eric Vergne third in the Toro Rosso. However, with representative lap times only really being set in the final few minutes, little could be read into the times.
The first red flag came just 17 minutes into the morning session when Romain Grosjean spun off at turn 12 and left his Lotus beached in the gravel. A second red flag came 20 minutes before the lunch break when Esteban Gutierrez went off at the high-speed turn three. The nose of the car ended up against the barrier but damage appeared to be minimal and the Mexican was back on track in the afternoon.
Despite the tricky conditions, plenty of laps were completed over the course of the day with the highest lap count belonging Hamilton (113) who just edged out Felipe Massa who completed 112. The Ferrari driver said last week that this test would be crucial for his team and he completed a race simulation towards the end of the day despite the poor conditions. The F138 came to halt on track after completing the full race distance, prompting red flags, as he appeared to complete a routine fuel run-out check.
Hamilton also ran a race simulation although it was interrupted when Massa caused the red flag. The changing track conditions made it hard to compare like for like, but Hamilton appeared to be getting plenty of life from the slick tyres despite the cooler conditions.
Grosjean ended the day slowest after a hydraulic leak limited his running to just 52 laps in total, and the team focused on analysing its Drag Reduction Device (DRD) late in the day when conditions were at their best, meaning he didn't set a representative lap time.
Luiz Razia was absent once more despite being listed as Marussia's driver on Thursday. He missed the entire second test due to what he claimed were contractual "conflicts", with team-mate Max Chilton at the wheel on all four days. Razia was scheduled to kick off the final test, but when the garage doors opened it was Chilton at the wheel of the MR02. The team has remained quiet on the issue, and although Razia is also scheduled to share cockpit time with Chilton on Friday and Sunday sporting director Graeme Lowdon said it would be Chilton again in the car tomorrow.
1. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:22.693, 90 laps
2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:24.348, 113 laps
3. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:25.017, 59 laps
4. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:26.458, 85 laps
5. Sergio Perez, McLaren, 1:26.538, 100 laps
6. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, 1:26.574, 92 laps
7. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:27.107, 57 laps
8. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:27.541, 112 laps
9. Max Chilton, Marussia, 1:28.166, 78 laps
10. Charles Pic, Caterham, 1:28.644, 83 laps
11. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:34.928, 52 laps
Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1