Barcelona day two - Vettel fastest for Red Bull 18 Nov 2008
Sebastian Vettel stormed to the top of the timesheets for Red Bull on Tuesday, as testing continued at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya. Vettel clocked a best lap of 1m 19.751s in the RB4 at the Spanish track, to finish over three-tenths of a second clear of the Toro Rosso of Takuma Sato, Mondays fastest runner.
Vettel covered 70 laps, despite a brief brake problem in the morning, and focused mainly on tyre testing, running the softer of the two Bridgestone slicks available. He will continue to test on Wednesday. Sato, one of three drivers hoping to land a 2009 Toro Rosso race seat, completed 79 laps during the morning session.
I have really enjoyed the test and it was great to be back in the car, said the Japanese driver. The last test in September was a little disappointing, because I could do only three hours, as it rained in the afternoon. The car has worked really well and felt great to drive. I enjoyed working with the team and it was very interesting for me to see how the engineers work. It was a great experience and chance for me.
Satos two rivals for the drive were also in action. The former Super Aguri racer handed over his STR3 to Sebastien Bourdais (third fastest) after lunch, while Sebastien Buemi took charge of his car for the entire day, completing 99 laps to finish fourth. Buemi and Bourdais will continue on Wednesday.
Behind the quartet of Red Bull cars was the McLaren of Gary Paffett. Initially Paffett piloted the team's KERS test car, but a minor oil leak prompted him to switch to a standard MP4-23, in which the British driver carried out aero and slick tyre evaluations for the rest of the day. He will be back in the KERS car on Wednesday.
Robert Kubica was the quickest BMW Sauber driver in sixth, with team mate Nick Heidfeld 14th. Both drove interim cars based on the F1.08 and fitted with some 2009-compliant aerodynamic components. They covered 76 and 81 laps respectively.
"Of course we lose a lot of downforce compared to the 2008 car," explained Kubica, who will hand over his car to tester Klien on Wednesday. "But because we are back from grooved to slick tyres, we have substantially more grip in slow corners. So with some more development I don't think there will be too big a difference between the 2009 and 2008 cars."
Nico Rosberg was seventh for Williams. Running an interim car with 2009 components, Rosberg enjoyed a productive day, completing 113 laps as he carried out set-up and development work. Team tester Nico Hulkenberg will be back in the hot seat for the British team on Wednesday.
Jenson Button was the quicker Honda driver, taking up eighth place, while Brazilian Lucas di Grassi finished in 10th. After adjusting the set-up of the car to his liking, Button concentrated on a tyre programme and completed 110 laps. Di Grassi, whom the team is evaluating for a possible 2009 race drive, also covered 110 laps.
I have had a really productive day and I am very pleased, said the young Brazilian. I ran for the first time properly with new tyres and the difference was massive compared to the used tyres from yesterday. With each new tyre run I was getting faster and faster. The slick tyre has much more grip and compared with the grooved tyre is easier to drive and more consistent over a run.
I was very pleased with the performance of the car, the way the day developed and ultimately my lap time. I ended the day 0.5s from Jenson's time and getting as close to him as possible was my target. I don't think the day could have gone much better. I felt like I gave everything I could to the day. Finally I would just like to thank Honda for giving me this experience and I hope they are happy with my performance today."
Adrian Sutil made it into the top ten for Force India in ninth, and was joined by McLaren tester, Pedro de La Rosa, who took charge of the other VJM01 to finish 16th. The duo covered 58 and 86 laps respectively.
Nelson Piquet was 11th fastest for Renault after a day spent tyre testing. World Series by Renault champion, Giedo van der Garde, meanwhile, continued to test for the French team. Van der Garde enjoyed another strong day in the car, finishing 15th after 37 laps.
"I've had another really enjoyable day working with the team and helping them with their preparations for next year, said the Dutchman. Towards the end of the morning I had the chance to do a couple of new tyres runs, which helped me build confidence in the car and each time I improved my lap times.
"We made good progress across the two half days and the team was happy with how things went so overall it has been a very positive experience. I'm grateful to the ING Renault F1 Team for giving me this opportunity.
With Toyota absent, the final team in action was Ferrari. Testers Luca Badoer, 12th, and Marc Gene, 13th, were fielded once again. Badoer covered 127 laps testing gearbox and engine reliability, whilst Gene completed 31, evaluating set-ups.
Testing continues on Wednesday.
Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:19.751
2. Takuma Sato, Toro Rosso, 1:20.017
3. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:20.034
4. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:20.223
5. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:21.340
6. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:21.521
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:21.525
8. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:21.770
9. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:22.073
10. Lucas di Grassi, Honda, 1:22.283
11. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:22.348
12. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:22.425
13. Marc Gene, Ferrari, 1:22.772
14. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:22.945
15. Giedo van der Garde, Renault, 1:23.250
16. Pedro de la Rosa, Force India, 1:23.499