So far so good!
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Romain Grosjean sent Lotus to the top of the timesheets on a busy second day of testing in Spain, but it was another day to forget for Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton’s debut run for the team came to an abrupt end in the Jerez barriers.
From the outset Grosjean establisged himself as the day’s pacesetter and not content with being fastest in the morning session, the Frenchman also set the afternoon’s quickest time. A final tally of 95 laps suggests that the new Lotus E21 has promising reliability.
Second quickest on his second day in the new Force India VJM06 was Paul di Resta. Like Grosjean, the Scot completed 95 laps before handing the car over to the team’s simulator driver James Rossiter in the afternoon.
“We did some more good aero work this morning and then tried some set-up changes on the car,” said Di Resta. “Testing is a good chance to make bigger changes than you would make during a race weekend and that’s allowed us to really see how they affect the car and has given us valuable data on tyre performance. The handling of the car so far is good and I’m feeling comfortable after two days in the car.”
Daniel Ricciardo, enjoying a second straight day in the Toro Rosso STR8, was third quickest and satisfied with his running in the new car.
“We completed our programme, with short runs in the morning and longer ones in the afternoon,” he said. “We also tried the Medium compound Pirelli, having only used the Hard yesterday, so at least for this circuit, we have established a good comparison of the two compounds.
“We ran through several other test items and I think we can be satisfied with a day’s work that has produced some useful information.”
The busiest man of the day was the man in fourth place - Red Bull’s Mark Webber. The Australian completed an astonishing 101 laps in the new RB9, two more than Nico Hulkenberg managed in the Sauber C32.
"For the second day in a row it was pretty successful,” said Hulkenberg. “We went through a lot of test items and did a comparison of the compounds - soft, medium and hard - which was quite interesting. Otherwise I was able to continue my familiarisation with the car and I did some long runs. Like yesterday, it was a positive day.”
Sixth fastest - despite registering only 15 laps - was Lewis Hamilton. After mechanical problems stopped Nico Rosberg just 14 laps into the test yesterday, Mercedes was hoping for a more productive day today, but a loss of rear brake pressure approaching the Dry Sac hairpin sent Hamilton head first into the tyre barriers. Repairs to several areas, including the hydraulics, meant the 2008 world champion had to sit out the rest of the day.
“These things happen and it's all part of testing,” said a reflective Hamilton afterwards. “Of course, it's better that we get these small issues out of the way sooner rather than later, and the guys are working really hard to overcome them.
“From the few short laps that I completed this morning, my general feeling was very positive. I got a good understanding of where the base of the car is and, whilst we need to do work in certain areas, it was good to have some laps to get a feel for what those areas are. I've told the guys that we just need to keep pushing and I know that we all will be doing that.”
Hamilton’s replacement at McLaren, Sergio Perez was one of several drivers making their 2013 test bow today. The Mexican registered 81 laps and finished with the seventh quickest time of the day.
Felipe Massa completed a second straight day in the new Ferrari 138 with the Scuderia saying that they acquired a large amount of data relating to various exhaust configurations.
Pastor Maldonado, continuing to gather information on the new tyres in a revised version of the Williams FW34, was ninth quickest whilst Rossiter was tenth for Force India. Giedo van der Garde was 11th for Caterham and Marussia’s new signing Luiz Razia completed 31 laps in his first run in the MR02.
Testing continues at Jerez on Thursday with world champion Sebastian Vettel and Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen amongst those set to make their first appearance on track.
1. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:18.218, 95 laps
2. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:19.003, 95 laps
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 1:19.134, 83 laps
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:19.338, 101 laps
5. Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, 1:19.502, 99 laps
6. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:19.519, 15 laps
7. Sergio Perez, McLaren, 1:19.572, 81 laps
8. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:19.914, 78 laps
9. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:20.693, 71 laps*
10. James Rossiter, Force India, 1:21.273, 19 laps
11. Giedo van der Garde, Caterham, 1:21.311, 88 laps
12. Luiz Razia, Marussia, 1:23.537, 31 laps
* Using 2012 car