Jerez day two - Schumacher top in 2011 Mercedes 08 Feb 2012
Michael Schumacher led the way at Jerez as testing continued in Spain on Wednesday. At the wheel of Mercedes 2011 machine, Schumacher clocked a best time of 1m 18.561s from 132 laps, putting him half a second clear of Mark Webber in the new Red Bull.
Daniel Ricciardo was a further half second back in Toro Rosso's STR7, while Frenchman Jules Bianchi made an impressive test debut as Force India reserve, finishing fourth fastest after his afternoon in the new VJM05.
"We made the most of a reliable car today to do lots of laps and learn a lot about the new Pirelli tyres, and how they perform on longer and shorter runs, and with different set-up configurations, said Schumacher. It was a good and productive test, full of lots of useful information for the season ahead, and I am now looking forward to driving our 2012 car for the first time at the next test."
Webber was equally upbeat after putting the RB8 ahead of its rival 2012 machines: It was pretty good today. I think were making good progress although, as I keep saying, its still very early days in the concept of the car and we have a lot to get through before we race it. But its the same for all the teams. We did well on the mileage today. I guess we could have done a bit more, but it was positive overall and the conditions were good to test in.
I am happy with what we did today, reported Ricciardo, who hands over to Toro Rosso team mate Jean-Eric Vergne on Thursday. One hundred laps is around twice the distance we did yesterday so we achieved our aim of getting plenty of miles for me and the car with a mix of short and long runs, trying three different tyre compounds. I also did some practice starts and pit entry tests, just about as much as one can do in one day. We have made progress and were even able to do some back to back runs to start finding out how the car reacts to set-up changes.
Commenting on his first Force India outing, Bianchi said: It was a really good morning and great to get my chance in the new car so early on. There was a lot to get used to, especially the steering wheel and remembering where all the switches are, but it didnt take too long before I felt happy in the car. It may only have been half a day, but the team asked me to do quite a lot of things and we managed to complete almost 50 laps before lunch.
For me this year is all about learning and helping the team as much as I can, so today was important for that and getting to know the team. Its great that I am back in the car tomorrow and I will try and get closer to the limit, because its important preparation for my Friday practice running this year.
Tuesday pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen was fifth in the Lotus E20, just behind Bianchi, whose Force India team mate Paul di Resta was sixth with his best morning time. Raikkonen was encouraged by his and the teams progress, despite a minor off.
There was a small issue with damage to the floor this morning when I went off and came back on to the circuit, explained the Finn. An edge on a kerb caused the damage and we lost some time as it was repaired. Apart from that it was a good day and we completed some long runs and good mileage. Physically, I felt fine after 117 laps. Conditions were quite windy on track but despite this I got a better feeling from the car. There was a lot of difference between the tyres. We used three compounds, but it was hard to get all of them working with the cooler temperatures today. When the tyres are working we seem to have a good car and I have a positive feeling from this first test.
Next up was Felipe Massa, who hands over the Ferrari F2012 to Fernando Alonso on Thursday, and Jenson Button who will similarly step aside for Lewis Hamilton at McLaren. Both Ferrari and McLaren reported trouble-free sessions, the former working on general data acquisition, the latter on braking, set-up and software changes.
Sergio Perez was ninth fastest as he got his first taste of Saubers new C31. Despite losing some track time to a fuel system issue, the Swiss team reported a positive day, with pleasing results from new aero parts that they trialled in the afternoon. Williams Pastor Maldonado rounded out the top ten, with team mate Bruno Senna set to take over the FW34 on Thursday.
Caterham had a highly productive session. Heikki Kovalainen may have been only 11th in the times, but he racked up a mammoth 139 laps as the team ran KERS on their car for the first time. Newly-signed tester Giedo van der Garde will make his first appearance in the CT01 on Thursday.
Basically its good news because it confirms what I thought yesterday, said Kovalainen. This car is a lot better than the 2011 car, its quicker and everything works as we want it to. Weve made very solid progress and I feel really good physically, so I think theres a lot more to come.
Pedro de la Rosa completed the timesheet in HRTs 2011 car, as the Spanish team wrapped up their planned two-day programme.
The two days of testing have served as good practice for the team, the majority of which is new, the equipment, which is also new, and also as a chance for Pedro to try out last years car and regain feelings at the steering wheel, said chief race engineer Toni Cuquerella. We havent experienced major problems and completed the test programme with both the systems and the team working well.
Weve also extracted enough data from the new compound tyres with this car to be able to compare it with the data regarding 2011s tyres and reach conclusions that will help us for the next tests. Therefore we can say that weve met our targets for these tests. When we arrive in Barcelona with the new car, everything else will be in place so we can fully concentrate on the car.
Testing continues at Jerez on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday test times from Jerez:
1. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes*, 1:18.561, 132 Laps
2. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:19.184, 97 Laps
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 1:19.587, 100 Laps
4. Jules Bianchi, Force India, 1:20.221, 46 Laps
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, 1:20.239, 117 Laps
6. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:20.272, 69 Laps
7. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:20.454, 95 Laps
8. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:20.688, 85 Laps
9. Sergio Perez, Sauber, 1:20.711, 106 Laps
10. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:21.197, 97 Laps
11. Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, 1:21.518, 139 Laps
12. Pedro de la Rosa, HRT*, 1:22.128, 64 Laps
* 2011 car
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