Testing At Jerez – Day 2

Another wet day at Jerez was waiting for the teams on Thursday…

2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton found the conditions hard, as the track looked like a river, and could only manage 10th in the standings with a time of 1:30.979.

Current world champion Jenson Button will take over for the last two days.

Sebastien Vettel continued his good performance on his last day in Jerez by setting the 3rd fastest time of the day.

“Generally, the feeling with the car is good,” said Vettel. “The weather has been pretty bad over the last couple of days, which meant we couldn’t do a lot of our planned testing, although it’s been the same for everyone. It’s a shame, as this is one of our three pre-season tests and last week the weather was quite bad also – it seems that Spain is not so happy to have us here! Nevertheless, we have still got some important work done and the car has been reliable; we didn’t have any problems.”

As for the other Sebastien, Buemi was unable to carry out the team’s planned programme, and ran through a short 25-lap race simulation, as well as some pit-stop practice. He finished 11th with a time of 1:32.678 and completed 57 laps.

Team-mate Jaime Alguersuari will take over for the last two days.

Ex-McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen was the first driver to crash his car this year by losing control of his Lotus and skidding into the barriers. But the Finish driver remains confident in the machine.

“I think the potential is there, the initial feeling from this morning was good. In the slow-speed corners the car is behaving quite well, but it’s lacking grip – it hasn’t got enough grip – so in the high-speed corners we lose quite a bit of time, probably also partly because of the set-up problems as well. But fundamentally it is okay and I quite enjoyed driving it.”

When asked what caused his excursion into the gravel, he replied: “Nope, nothing wrong with the car. It was my mistake. Came out of turn two to turn three and went on the power too aggressively – lost the rear and tried to correct it, went into the gravel and into the wall. I missed the nose!”

With nobody completing 100 laps, Thursday saw the least running so far. but it was Brazilian Rubens Barrichello who scored Williams’ first top spot of the year and the most laps of 98.

“Rubens finished off another wet day in Jerez having covered a lot of mileage for reliability,” explained technical director Sam Michael. “He also completed some systems checks and carried out a programme of pit-stop practice. All the pit stops were done under wet conditions and we’re working on some refinements for tomorrow when Nico Hulkenberg will take over.”

Russian Vitaly Petrov went 2nd, which is the best ranking he has had in an F1 car, with a time of 1:27.828.

Robert Kubica will take over the wasp-like car for the last two days.

Pedro De La Rosa was also on track but only did 8 laps as he thought there was not much point in going out. But even with those few laps, he managed to go 6th.
“With the same mixed conditions as yesterday, it simply wasn’t worth doing much driving today,” explained De la Rosa. “We have a good understanding of the car, and I’m looking forward to the next test in Barcelona, hopefully on a dry track.”

Force India test and reserve driver Paul Di Resta began the Indian team’s day by completing 33 laps and a time of 1:30.344 which brought him a reasonable 7th.

Then team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi took over the VJM03 and covered 24 laps with a time of 1:30.666 which put him two places behind Paul in 9th.

“The poor weather continued today with gusting wind and heavy showers,” said Force India’s chief race engineer Dominic Harlow. “Accordingly we worked on general race preparation and some fuel system and hydraulic system tests.”

Virgin’s Timo Glock was the man sandwiched in between the two Force Indias, as the German put in a healthy 72 laps to go 8th with time of 1:30.476.

“We managed to complete more than a race distance today, which is very satisfying after our frustrations of yesterday,” explained Virgin’s technical director Nick Wirth. “We also managed to prove out some development parts which gave results completely in line with the performance prediction from the development programme at Wirth Research. This is always satisfying as it gives the team and drivers a great and confidence-inspiring introduction to our development program for this car”. Lucas Di Grassi should take over for last two days.

As Heikki Kovalainen waits for the damage on his car to be repaired, the weather forecast looks to be brightening up for the next two days…..

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Rubens Barrichello      Williams                1:27.145       98      Laps
2. Vitaly Petrov                  Renault                 1:27.828       56      Laps
3. Sebastian Vettel            Red Bull                 1:28.162       70      Laps
4. Nico Rosberg                  Mercedes GP       1:28.515       71       Laps
5. Felipe Massa                    Ferrari                   1:28.879      92       Laps
6. Pedro de la Rosa             Sauber                  1:29.691         8        Laps
7. Paul Di Resta                    Force India         1:30.344       33       Laps
8. Timo Glock                       Virgin                     1:30.476      72       Laps
9. Vitantonio Liuzzi           Force India          1:30.666       24       Laps
10. Lewis Hamilton            McLaren                1:30.979      57       Laps
11. Sebastien Buemi            Toro Rosso          1:32.678      57       Laps
12. Heikki Kovalainen        Lotus                      1:33.554      30       Laps

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