Saturday, February 23, 2013

Barcelona Testing Day 4 - Hamilton on top after start-stop day

Image courtesy Vodafone McLaren
Rain and no less that eight red flags ensured that the final day of testing turned out to be quite the damp squib. Though it did give all teams the chance to test out the new intermediate and full wet Pirelli tyres, their test schedules were cut short and some shifted focus to just data logging.

Having to start the day on intermediate tyres due to an early morning drizzle, the best times were set only during a short window when a dry line appeared just before lunch. Hamilton finished on top with a time sent on the medium tyre ahead of his old team mate Button in the McLaren. Jean Eric Vergne rounded up the top three who were the only drivers to catch the ten minute window when the times dropped before another onslaught of rain and hail which pretty much ensured the times couldn't be bettered. 

Jules Bianchi was driving for a seat next year and he showed his prospective new bosses what he can do in the slippery conditions, setting a respectable time of 1.25.732 considering the conditions. Given he couldn't really push the limits of the car, he might just be given another opportunity to show the team what he can do in comparison with Sutil when the conditions are level. 

Van de Garde in his Caterham saved his team precious time and money stopping just short of the barriers after running wide on the final corner, but causing one of the red flags of the day. Williams completed 46 laps between their two drivers, but did not complete even a single timed run, since their entire focus was on pit stop practice. 

Image courtesy Williams F1
Grosjean finished the the day at the bottom of the time sheets, but was very happy with the pace of the car in the wet. "Last year, it's not a secret that we were really struggling in the wet. Today we have been trying to work on it and trying to understand and it seems to be better. At least we have done some laps in the wet, which I hadn't done last year. I spun very early in Malaysia and then we had only two qualifying I think in the wet so it wasn't much. Sp that was good and I think the baseline seems to be reasonable.
The other stoppages were caused by cars going off at turns 4 and 5, while Hamilton ran out of fuel between turns 5 and 6. 

Barcelona Testing time sheet - Day 4
1. Hamilton - Mercedes - 1.23.282
2. Button - McLaren - 1.23.633
3. Vergne - Toro Rosso - 1.24.071
4. Bianchi - Force India - 1.25.732
5- Gutierrez - Sauber - 1.26.239
6. Van de Garde - Caterham - 1.27.429
7. Massa - Ferrari - 1.27.553
8. Webber - Red Bull - 1.27.616
9. Chilton - Marussia - 1.29.902
10.  Grosjean - Lotus - 1.34.800
Bottas - Williams - No time
Maldonado - Williams - No time

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