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Barcelona day three - Rosberg heads wet-dry session 20 Feb 2011

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 20 February 2011 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB7 makes a pitstop.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 20 February 2011 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 20 February 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing VR-02.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 20 February 2011 Giorgio Mondini (ITA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRT F1.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 20 February 2011

Nico Rosberg put Mercedes GP top of the timesheets in Spain on Sunday, as testing continued at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. With the track wet in the morning and dry in the afternoon, Rosberg finished three-tenths up on Renault’s Vitaly Petrov, with Lewis Hamilton third for McLaren.

Rosberg continued his familiarisation with Mercedes’ KERS system in conjunction with set-up comparisons over longer runs to further develop the team's understanding of MGP W02 and tyre behaviour. His day concluded with qualifying simulations, including operation of KERS and the adjustable rear wing.

"It was interesting running with the intermediates this morning and, although the warm-up is tricky, we definitely improved our understanding of the tyres,” said the German driver. “Our long runs this afternoon included some aero work in preparation for our next upgrade package before going into lower-fuel, new-tyre running at the end of the day. We made good progress in understanding the car and the tyres, and the reliability was solid once again."

Petrov gathered some useful data on the intermediates Pirelli tyres as Renault completed their first significant mileage on them. The R31 was fitted with a different spec of exhaust tail pipe and aero data was collected to assess its effect on car performance. The team reported good progress with front and rear suspension changes and found more improvements regarding tyre pressures.

“We used the intermediates to begin with and it was one of our first opportunities to do a lot of laps with them,” commented Petrov. “The only issue we had was warming them up because it was very cold early on. The plan was to do a race distance in the morning and we managed quite a lot of long runs while the track was wet. Then, we put the slicks on just before lunch and started improving the set-up. We learned a lot of new things and I’m starting to understand the tyres more and how to get the most from this car.”

At McLaren, Hamilton’s morning was spent on shorter runs, with some brief downtime shortly before lunch to correct a minor mechanical issue. In the afternoon, he conducted longer runs, evaluating tyre behaviour over the course of a stint.

“This was a positive day: we’ve been focusing on our programme, trying to complete as many laps as possible, improve reliability and understand the Pirelli tyres. We’re learning more and more about them every day,” said the former champion.

“We’ve had a few technical issues with this car, but the guys have been working incredibly to rectify them. To get more than 90 laps under my belt today was a big positive, and I’m looking forward to a trouble-free day tomorrow.”

Pastor Maldonado was encouraging fourth in the times for Williams on his first day in Barcelona, despite a spin in the damp conditions and some technical issues with the FW33.

“We had a problem with the alternator late morning that necessitated a change so most of our laps were completed in the afternoon session,” explained technical director Sam Michael. “We went through many systems checks while Pastor continued putting mileage on the FW33. Furthermore, we evaluated some setup directions to explore some different areas on the car aeromap.”

The poor weather meant Red Bull were forced to adapt their planned programme, but Mark Webber, fifth in the times, was satisfied nonetheless: “Today went well, with nearly 140 laps completed, and you can’t complain about that. Obviously, we now have a lot of data to digest and we’re learning a huge amount about this car and how to get the best from it. It was damp all morning and that meant we had a pretty condensed programme this afternoon but we got through it well and, I have to say, the car ran really, really well.”

Lotus’s finished sixth for Lotus, despite running less than 50 laps as technical gremlins struck the T128, as chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne explained: "A slightly frustrating day as our running was limited by a problem with a cracking water pipe this afternoon. We knew about the problem but did not have spare parts for it so we had to use parts repaired at the circuit.

“The team did a good job today to make sure Jarno could get more laps done in the dry conditions and he was fairly happy with the car by the end of the day. We also managed to do a reasonable amount of running in the wet so although it was one of those quite tough days we managed to make fairly decent progress and with new parts available tomorrow we will look to complete some more significant mileage."

Sergio Perez put Sauber seventh. Commenting on the team’s programme, technical director James Key said: “It was a bit of a compromised day with the conditions this morning, which were both wet and cold, and it took quite some time to dry out. However, it allowed us to use both the wet and intermediate tyre again and to evaluate how the set-up needs to be changed from dry to wet with the Pirelli tyres.

“In the afternoon we ran a race simulation with three stints. Sergio put in some consistent lap times first on the hard, then the medium and finally the hard compound again. Unfortunately we had a problem with the rear wing so we had to bring him in. Apart from this, it was another trouble free day with many laps that allowed us to gather a lot of data.”

Adrian Sutil was upbeat about Force India’s progress with the VJM04, as he finished the day eighth: “A lot of laps again today, without any real reliability issues, so my second day of good driving in the car. The rain before the start of running gave us the chance to complete full laps on the wet tyres after only doing install laps on them with Paul (di Resta) on Friday.

“As the track dried later on we moved over to the intermediate and then to the dries after lunch. We didn't get the opportunity to try the supersoft tyres at the end of the day, which would have given us an improvement in lap time, but overall the balance is getting there and we know there's a lot more to come from the car. The DRS (drag reduction system) is working well and we're going in the right direction with everything we do now.”

Driving duties at Toro Rosso were split between Sebastien Buemi, who drove in the morning and finished ninth in the times, and tester Daniel Ricciardo, who took the wet morning stint and ended the day 13th.

Felipe Massa took over from Fernando Alonso at Ferrari and finished tenth. In the morning’s damp conditions the Brazilian ran fairly continuously on the Pirelli intermediate tyres. However he did have a couple of off-track excursions, although the car was undamaged. In the afternoon he successfully completed a race simulation with the F150th Italia.

Eleventh on the timesheets was Virgin’s Timo Glock, well ahead of one-time Midland tester Giorgio Mondini, who got his first outing with HRT. Narain Karthikeyan was also in action for the Spanish team, the Indian driver finishing 14th to the Italian’s 12th.

“I’m very happy to have driven today,” said Mondini, who last drove an F1 car in 2006. “It was a test to see if I was still able to drive at this level. It’s been two years since I raced competitively and physically I could really feel it. Now we must work on this.”

Testing concludes in Barcelona on Monday.

Unofficial Sunday test times from Barcelona:
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:23.168, 92 laps
2. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1:23.463, 93
3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:23.858, 93
4. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:24.815, 60
5. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:24.995, 139
6. Jarno Trulli, Lotus, 1:25.454, 48
7. Sergio Perez, Sauber, 1:25.557, 115
8. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:25.720, 102
9. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:26.155, 31
10. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:26.508, 123
11. Timo Glock, Virgin, 1:26.598, 97
12. Giorgio Mondini, HRT, 1:28.178, 39
13. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 1:28.329, 42
14. Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, 1:30.722, 32

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