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Barcelona day two - Red Bull reign again as Vettel takes top slot 09 Mar 2011

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150° Italia. Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Team Lotus T128 makes a pit stop.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Marussia Virgin Racing VR-02.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel matched his team mate Mark Webber’s Tuesday success by setting Wednesday’s fastest time as this week’s final pre-season test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya continued. Vettel posted a best of 1m 21.865s to beat the second-placed Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi by half a second and Webber’s Tuesday time by almost seven-tenths.

Vettel completed 112 laps in the RB7 as he carried out a variety of long and short runs. The team also undertook some pit-stop practice ahead of the Australian season opener. Despite his pace, Vettel remains open minded about Red Bull’s position in the pecking order.

“It was a good day and a good time, although to be honest, it’s difficult to say where we are, as the lap times of the teams are all over the place,” said the German. “We’ve done a lot of laps again today, which is good. We have had no major problems with reliability throughout testing and the speed looks good as far as we can judge, but I think we have to wait until after Melbourne - maybe in Malaysia or China - to really see where we are.”

Buemi was the day’s most productive driver, covering 120 laps in the STR6. In the morning, the Swiss completed a full race simulation, which provided useful tyre degradation, car performance and reliability data. In the afternoon, the focus was switched to running with lower fuel loads, while the team spent almost an hour practising pit stops.

“We can be pleased with what we achieved today, because with 120 laps, it meant we completed all the programme we had planned,” said Buemi. “Apart from the race simulation, I was also able to do a qualifying simulation. We showed a reasonable performance level and the team did a very good job in preparing the car so well. Overall, it has been a productive test.”

Vitaly Petrov finished in third for Renault. Petrov completed 115 laps in the R31 as he carried out data gathering and set-up work. The Russian evaluated the car over long runs by simulating a race distance in the afternoon, using both the hard and soft compounds of dry tyre.

“I’m pleased with what we achieved today and I was able to learn a lot about the car and the tyres,” he said. “We spent the morning doing shorter runs and working on the set-up, and I was pretty happy with the car by the end of the morning. But the most important thing was to complete the race distance, which we managed this afternoon. It’s the first time I’ve been able to do consistent long runs and really start understanding the tyres.”

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was fourth quickest, ahead of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa in fifth. Hamilton spent the morning running pit-stop rehearsals with a full-race crew, which was cut short by a minor hydraulics leak. He then started a race simulation, which was also halted by an exhaust failure. Back on track in the afternoon, the Briton ran through a number of set-up evaluations and eventually completed a total of 57 laps. McLaren will take a break on Thursday, before resuming their test on Friday.

Massa tackled a full programme in the 150° Italia, which focused on evaluating new updates on the car. The Brazilian notched up 101 laps and will continue on Thursday. Force India took the sixth slot with Paul di Resta continuing his strong form in the VJM04. Di Resta completed a race weekend simulation, beginning with qualifying runs in the morning and moving onto a full race simulation in the afternoon.

“A reasonable day of running for us today and good reliability and clear weather meant we could get through all of our programme,” he said. “I've done pit stops before in practice last year but trying them in race conditions was a new experience. However they were similar in length to what I've experienced in the DTM over the past four years so I think I dealt with them okay. I'll have a break tomorrow while Adrian (Sutil) takes over the car to test some new aero upgrades we're running for the first time.”

Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi was seventh fastest. Kobayashi completed 107 laps as he evaluated new parts on the C30. “It was an interesting and productive day for me, and we completed our programme as planned,” said the Japanese driver. “We achieved a good mileage and learnt a lot. The set up work with the new car is different to last year’s car, and it is good to get more experience with that. In the afternoon the way the track evolved was quite significant, and we struggled a bit with adapting the car and finding the right balance. But this is nothing to worry about.”

Nico Rosberg was eighth for Mercedes GP, with Jarno Trulli in ninth for Lotus. Rosberg evaluated the first items of the team’s upgrade package, including a new exhaust and new bodywork. He completed 100 laps before a bodywork problem brought the day's running to an earlier-than-planned end.

"It was nice to get the first of our upgrades on the car today, and to feel their potential,” he said. “Thanks to everyone at the team for their hard work as I think we have some impressive developments, even though we couldn't test or show the full performance today as not all of the elements are on the car and working together yet. We had glimpses that showed that the full package should be a big step. The bodywork problem cost some time at the end, however we still learned a great deal."

Trulli completed 98 laps in the T128. The Italian concentrated on long runs as he evaluated tyre degradation and set-up options.

“We're pretty happy with how the day went - completing 98 laps gave us a chance to work through a number of setup options and we collected a lot of useful data on the tyre degradation,” he said. “They're behaving pretty much how we expected them to and the changes we made to the car gave us the results we wanted so we'll look through all the information we've gathered and see if we can take another step forward tomorrow."

Pastor Maldonado for Williams and Virgin’s Jerome D’Ambrosio completed the line-up in tenth and 11th respectively. An electrical problem for the MVR-02 confined D’Ambrosio to the garage for a spell but the Belgian eventually completed a total of 64 laps.

“Today has been a little frustrating as we lost valuable track time,” he explained. “The mechanics worked very hard to get me back out on track as quickly as possible, so with the laps that we did complete we have at least been able to gather some useful information. We still have a lot of work to do so we look forward to a trouble-free day tomorrow so we can start to move things on a little with our tyre evaluation programme.”

Testing continues on Thursday, with all but McLaren expected on track.

Unofficial Wednesday test times from Barcelona:
1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:21.865, 112 laps
2. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:22.396, 120
3. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1:22.670, 116
4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:22.888, 57
5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:23.324, 101
6. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:24.334, 118
7. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:24.436, 107
8. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:25.807, 100
9. Jarno Trulli, Lotus, 1:26.090, 98
10. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:26.989, 29
11. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Virgin, 1:28.982, 64

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