Barcelona day two - Hulkenberg quickest for Williams 26 Feb 2010
Nico Hulkenberg charged to the top of the timesheets on Friday in the Williams, as this weeks four-day test continued at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya. Clocking a best lap of 1m 20.614s around the Spanish circuit, Hulkenbergs quickest time was just over two-hundredths of a second faster than that of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
With the weather still dry and sunny, Hulkenberg was able to cover 99 laps during the course of the day in the FW32. The young German, who was on track for the final time before next months season opener in Bahrain, was charged with evaluating a new sidepod and carrying out set-up work.
Weve had a good test here, he said. P1 today is nice but means nothing, to be honest. Were not in Bahrain yet! It is positive for the team, and for me, to know what the car can do though. We did a lot of set-up work today and have found some interesting things so I feel ready and confident to go to Bahrain now.
Alonso, who was also testing for the final time before the Bahrain event gets underway, completed a mammoth 133 laps in the F10. The Spanish driver evaluated some new aerodynamic components and also carried out a race simulation.
Pedro de la Rosa finished third for BMW Sauber, ahead of Force Indias Vitantonio Liuzzi in fourth. De la Rosa completed 114 laps in the C29.
"The reliability of the car was perfect and I think the performance was also good, especially in the race simulation, explained the Spaniard. It was a very good exercise and I feel we have now done everything possible to get ready for the first Grand Prix. It was also a big day for me because it has been a while since I last completed a race distance. I feel very well and also really confident now."
After completing shorter runs in the morning, Liuzzi ran through a race simulation after lunch. He covered 90 laps of the Spanish track. Team mate Adrian Sutil will be in action for the Silverstone-based outfit on Saturday.
We can be quite happy about today's programme, he said. We completed everything without any issues and the car showed very good reliability, even when we did the race simulation. Again it is responding very well and we are improving day by day so everything is looking positive. We still don't know where we are relative to the others, and we will only see in Bahrain, but overall we can be really happy.
Sebastian Vettel took fifth for Red Bull, after completing 125 laps. It was good today - we didnt have any major problems, Vettel explained. We had to stop in the afternoon for a minor issue, but its quite normal in testing. When youre testing, you dont want to risk any damage so its best to switch the car off and stop if you dont have to push when theres an alert in the background.
Jaime Alguersuari finished in sixth for Toro Rosso. Today was very useful in that it is a good confidence boost to have completed a race simulation on my last day of testing before the start of the season, said Alguersuari. It is still too early to talk about where we are in performance terms, but with a good mileage achieved over these four test sessions, I feel much better prepared than when I made my debut in the middle of last year.
Michael Schumacher was seventh fastest for Mercedes GP, after completing 85 laps in the MGP W01. Continuing the development programme, which team mate Nico Rosberg began on Thursday, Schumacher worked on improving the balance and set-up of the car over longer runs. He also practiced race weekend procedures, including pit stops and practice starts.
"We had a positive day but it was quite stop-start with some changes on the car and then the red flags towards the end of the day, explained the German. We are working hard and even if the programme doesn't run as smoothly as we would have liked, there is much more to come from the team both here and in Bahrain. We are working very well together and there is a good atmosphere within the team."
Just under five-tenths of a second down on the German was Lewis Hamilton in the similarly-engined McLaren. Hamilton covered 93 laps in the MP4-25 on his way to eighth in the times. In the morning he conducted shorter runs, with experimental set-ups, whilst in the afternoon he concentrated on a single long-distance run.
Renaults Robert Kubica finished in ninth, but was only able to complete 53 laps. Robert was in the car today for his first laps at Barcelona in the R30, explained Renaults chief engineer Alan Permane. We spent the morning doing some set-up work, but in the afternoon we had a problem with the suspension, which limited our running. Were still looking into the issue and will have the car fixed and ready for Saturday morning.
Jarno Trulli, tenth, covered 70 laps in Lotuss T127. It was a productive day in terms of set up direction with Jarno, said chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. We were able to identify some problems with the set up in the car and establish clear direction to improve it. We still have a long way to go, and a lot of time to come from the car. We had a couple of minor hydraulics issues which stopped the car on track, but nothing major, so all in all it was a productive day and were aiming to continue in the same vein on Saturday.
The days final runner was Timo Glock, who finished in 11th in the Virgin. Testing will continue at Barcelona until Sunday.
Unofficial Friday times from Barcelona:
1. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:20.614, 99 Laps
2. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:20.637, 133 Laps
3. Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber, 1:20.973, 114 Laps
4. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:21.056, 90 Laps
5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:21.258, 125 Laps
6. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 1:21.571, 104 Laps
7. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP, 1:21.689, 85 Laps
8. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:22.152, 93 Laps
9. Robert Kubica, Renault, 1:24.912, 53 Laps
10. Jarno Trulli, Lotus, 1:25.524, 70 Laps
11. Timo Glock, Virgin, 1:25.942, 52 Laps