Two in a row for Romain
ROMAIN Grosjean continued where he left off yesterday, by setting the quickest time today in the final pre-season test. Grosjean’s Lotus set a time of 1.22.614 in the dying stages, to pip Jean-Eric Vergne to top spot. Sebastian Vettel was third fastest as Red Bull continue to keep a quiet profile, but still seem to be the bookmakers favourites for the season opener in Australia. What’s more, the team will be flying more parts out from their factory in Milton Keynes to the test at the Circuit de Catalunya tomorrow.
Although Grosjean did the fastest time on the soft tyre like yesterday, his consistency on both short and long runs suggests that Lotus have fully overcome the chassis problems that led to their testing programme being drastically cut last week. Vergne, a fellow Frenchman and 2012 F1 rookie, had to sit out the majority of the afternoon session after a Ferrari engine failure on his Toro Rosso late this morning.
The pace of the French stars left Vettel back in third, whilst Fernando Alonso had a better day for Ferrari today, ending up fourth and completing a trouble free race simulation run of over 60 laps. A late burst on the super soft tyres pushed Heikki Kovalainen into a surprising fifth place. The Finn seemed to have recovered after the stomach upset that meant he had to sit out yesterday. Lewis Hamilton spent a lot of the day in the garage, as McLaren worked on his car. Like Red Bull, they continue to fly out new development parts as testing nears its conclusion. Nevertheless, he still managed over 60 laps and was ninth fastest.
There were six stoppages in an interrupted day, which saw fog delay the start of testing in Barcelona by half an hour. Nico Hulkenberg lost the entire afternoon after stopping on track with a suspected gearbox problem on his Force India Mercedes, whilst Michael Schumacher brought the red flag out twice, with driver error and technical faults to blame.
DAY 2 BARCELONA TESTING RESULTS
1. Romain Grosjean (Lotus Renault) 1.22.614 – 124 laps
2. Jean-Eric Vergne (Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari) 1.23.126 – 46 laps
3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing Renault) 1.23.361 – 85 laps
4. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1.23.447 – 125 laps
5. Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham Renault) 1.23.828 – 104 laps
6. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber Ferrari) 1.23.836 – 76 laps
7. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India Mercedes) 1.23.893 – 33 laps
8. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes GP) 1.23.978 – 79 laps
9. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes) 1.24.111 – 65 laps
10. Bruno Senna (Williams Renault) 1.24.925 – 48 laps
11. Pastor Maldonado (Williams Renault) 1.25.801 – 20 laps