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Valencia day two - Alonso shoots to top of pile for Ferrari 02 Feb 2011

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F150.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday, 2 February 2011 Robert Kubica (POL) Lotus Renault GP R31 using the movable rear wing.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday, 2 February 2011 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRTF1.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday, 2 February 2011 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW33.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday, 2 February 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday, 2 February 2011

With little over a month to go before the season begins, Valencia was a hive of activity as this week’s test continued at the Spanish circuit on Wednesday. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso emerged as the quickest runner from the 12 teams and 15 drivers in action, clocking a best time of 1m 13.307s in the Italian team’s brand-new F150.

Tuesday’s fastest runner, Sebastian Vettel, dropped to second in Red Bull’s RB7. Vettel’s best was three-tenths of a second down on the Spaniard. His team mate Mark Webber also undertook his first outing in the car. Webber's brief spell behind the wheel, after he was hindered by installation problems, saw him rack up 17 laps and set the 14th-best time.

“I didn’t get so long in the car today, so we will start the real work tomorrow," said the Australian. "There was a bit of a problem with the installation, something with the pedals, so it took a bit longer than we expected. It wasn’t the smoothest day, but we’re back tomorrow - it’s great that the guys have got the car here for the first test and I’m looking forward to driving it more.”

Force India’s Paul di Resta finished in third, ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. Both Hamilton and Di Resta were driving interim 2010 cars. Di Resta covered a mammoth 111 laps of the track in the VJM03, evaluating the Pirelli tyres.

"Another good day of testing for the team, gathering lots of information for the guys to work on as we prepare for the debut of the VJM04 next week," said the Scot. "We're now understanding a lot more about the performance of the Pirellis and the differences between the compounds, particularly with regards to long and shorter runs and different fuel loads.

"At this stage we're not going for times, just trying to get representative data to work on. I'm feeling good and well integrated into the team and my new role, there's a really positive atmosphere, which will set us up extremely well for next week when the new car testing programme starts."

Hamilton was also charged with gathering data on Pirelli’s 2011 rubber. He covered 83 laps in the modified McLaren MP4-25. Team mate Jenson Button will be in action on Thursday.

“It felt great to be back in the car,” said Hamilton. “I haven’t been driving for a while, so it felt good to brush away the cobwebs, and I felt at home straight away. Even though we were using the 2010 car, we had quite a productive day. We were trying to replicate 2011 downforce levels on the old car - so it wasn’t 100 percent accurate - but we still got a good understanding of the new Pirellis and covered quite a lot of ground.”

The next 2011-spec car in the times was Robert Kubica’s Renault in fifth. Kubica covered 104 laps during his first outing in the team’s new R31. As well as sampling the team’s new steering wheel design, Kubica ran with aero paint so the team could evaluate how the new package was working and gathered tyre data.

“It’s always difficult to judge things after just one day in the car, especially with so many changes compared to last year,” he said. “The main factor is definitely the new Pirelli tyres, which have a big influence on how the car behaves and we ran on some of the different compounds to start getting a feeling for them. We did have a couple of mechanical issues with the car and we couldn’t complete the entire programme, but we still did lots of laps. This is very important because we managed to complete a lot of the usual system and reliability checks needed with a new car and made sure there were no overheating issues.”

Just down on the Polish driver in sixth was HRT's Narain Karthikeyan, who completed 80 laps in the Spanish team’s 2010 car.

“We have been working through the programme,” said Karthikeyan. “We did 80 laps, which is good. Obviously, the times are not so important, we were not going for times today, just building up to it nicely. Besides, I have tried several Pirelli compounds, therefore I feel really satisfied. Hopefully we will do some more work tomorrow in the same direction”.

Seventh quickest was Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg in the new MGP W02. After their hydraulic issues on Tuesday, the team enjoyed a much more productive day and Rosberg completed 69 laps.

"It was an interesting day and important that we completed a lot of laps,” he said. “We ran with part of the KERS system for the first time, so much of the focus was on learning how to handle the system. It is challenging but just a matter of getting used to the buttons and how the car feels under braking out on track. Today's running confirmed my initial good feelings about the car. We had a few issues which is normal with a new car but fixed them quickly."

Timo Glock joined the action for Virgin in the team’s 2010 car and finished the day eighth after covering 34 laps. Despite some hydraulic problems he was pleased to be back behind the wheel.

“It was good to be in the car again after a winter preparing myself for a new season which I am really looking forward to,” said the German. “These first tests are going to be useful as we continue getting to grips with the new Pirelli tyres. Despite not being able to complete as many laps as we would have liked, it has been a very interesting day for me and the team and I can’t wait to jump in the car again tomorrow and carry on working hard in preparation for the new season ahead.”

Ninth slot on the timesheets was occupied by Williams’ Rubens Barrichello in the new FW33. Barrichello covered 50 laps before handing over the car to his new team mate Pastor Maldonado, who covered 29 laps over the course of the afternoon and finished in 11th.

Separating the two Williams drivers was Sauber’s new signing Sergio Perez, who endured a baptism of fire as he started his career at the team. He completed 42 laps at the wheel of the C30 on his way to 10th in the times before a power-train issue interrupted proceedings. The Sauber mechanics had a busy night ahead of them to fix the problem before Perez’s second day in the car.

“It was a difficult day with not much running and we obviously could not complete our programme,” said the Mexican. “But for me it was still good to get my first laps in the new car, and I am beginning to feel confident with it. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and hope we can do a lot of running with proper set up work.”

In 12th and 13th were Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari. The duo split their time in the new STR6, covering 46 and 64 laps respectively. The final time of the day was set by Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen, who gave the team’s new T128 its track debut. Kovalainen only managed 15 laps before a power steering failure curtailed his running.

Testing continues in Valencia on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday test times from Valencia:
1. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:13.307, 108 Laps
2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:13.614, 43 Laps
3. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:13.844, 111 Laps
4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:14.353, 83 Laps
5. Robert Kubica, Renault, 1:14.412, 104 Laps
6. Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, 1:14.472, 80 Laps
7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:14.645, 69 Laps
8. Timo Glock, Virgin, 1:15.408, 34 Laps
9. Rubens Barrichello, Williams, 1:16.023, 50 Laps
10. Sergio Perez, Sauber, 1:16.198, 42 Laps
11. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:16.266, 29 Laps
12. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:16.359, 46 Laps
13. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 1:16.474, 64 Laps
14. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:17.365, 17 Laps
15. Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, 1:20.649, 15 Laps

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