• Barcelona Test Day Two

Vettel reveals Red Bull's pace

Laurence Edmondson in Barcelona March 9, 2011 « Suzuka signs extension for 2012 | »
Sebastian Vettel was comfortably on top on Wednesday morning © Sutton Images
Enlarge

Sebastian Vettel kept Red Bull at the top of the timing sheets for the second day in a row, after setting a scintillating pace at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday morning.

He logged his best time on a seven lap run, meaning there should be even more to come from the Red Bull when it runs on a qualifying fuel load.

Sebastien Buemi got closest to Vettel's time in the Toro Rosso with some short runs of his own in the afternoon sun. However, just a couple of laps later his car stopped on track, causing a red flag and leaving him stuck in the garage for 30 minutes. Despite the setback, he still completed a very healthy 120 laps.

Vitaly Petrov was third fastest in the Renault after setting his best time in the morning and focusing on longer runs in the afternoon.

In total 11 cars were on track throughout the day, with HRT announcing that it will wait until Friday to test its new car. In the mean time it confirmed Tonio Liuzzi as Narain Karthikeyan's team-mate to complete the line-up that will sit on the grid at the first race in Australia.

Back on track, Ferrari made its return with Felipe Massa at the wheel and a new exhaust system on the car, not dissimilar to Red Bull's. Massa set the fifth fastest time with a 1:23.324 at the start of a four lap run, but his work was focused on assessing the new parts on the 150th Italia rather than grabbing the headlines. The car looked consistent over medium length stints, as it has done throughout the testing season, suggesting that the new aero parts and exhaust have slotted in to place without issue.

Further down the timesheets, Mercedes was testing a completely new rear end aimed at solving its overheating problems and clawing back the one second deficit it believes it has to the front runners. On the surface it appeared to improve reliability with Nico Rosberg completing over 100 laps. But with just the eighth fastest time it is safe to assume that he was not pushing for times on low fuel. His father Keke was present in the paddock and was keeping in touch with his son's progress via a pair of team headphones

McLaren had another tough day as an exhaust problem forced Lewis Hamilton to return to the garage at the beginning of a race simulation in the morning. After Jenson Button voiced his concerns about the car yesterday, the team is running out of time to get the MP4-26 sorted for the first race. Hamilton returned to the track in the afternoon but completed just 18 more laps, setting a time one second off the pace of Vettel along the way.

Williams also had a tricky day and had to remove its KERS after the technology brought Pastor Maldonado to a halt on circuit with five laps completed. The KERS unit was then disposed of at the back of the garage in a steel box and fenced off by the Williams mechanics. Maldonado returned to the track in the afternoon and completed over 20 more laps before the chequered flag.

Paul di Resta's Force India also caused a red flag in the morning, but it was just a minor setback in an otherwise successful day in which he completed 118 laps with the sixth fastest time.

Times

Driver Car Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB7 1:21.865 112
2. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso STR6 1:22.396 120
3. Vitaly Petrov Renault R31 1:22.670 116
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-26 1:22.888 57
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 150 1:23.324 101
6. Paul Di Resta Force India VJM04 1:24.334 118
7. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber C30 1:24.436 107
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes W02 1:25.807 100
9. Jarno Trulli Lotus T128 1:26.090 98
10. Pastor Maldonado Williams FW33 1:26.989 29
11. Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin MVR-02 1:28.982 64

Laurence Edmondson is an assistant editor on ESPNF1

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Feeds Feeds: Laurence Edmondson

Products you might like at espnshop.co.uk

    Laurence Edmondson Close
    Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1 Laurence Edmondson grew up on a Sunday afternoon diet of Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell and first stepped in the paddock as a Bridgestone competition finalist in 2005. He worked for ITV-F1 after graduating from university and has been ESPNF1's deputy editor since 2010