Mugello day two - Grosjean (and Kobayashi) fastest in Italy 02 May 2012
After the wet and wild weather on the opening day at Mugello, Wednesday was a much calmer affair and, with the Italian track basking in sunshine, the teams were intent on exploiting the much drier conditions. Romain Grosjean set the pace for Lotus with a lap of 1m 21.603s, although right at the end of the session Kamui Kobayashi set exactly the same time for Sauber.
Grosjean was tasked with evaluating different suspension set-ups after the team made some slight balance changes to the E20. The Frenchman completed 97 laps and will continue to test on Thursday.
Its always good to end the day on top, but we have to remember that in testing lap times mean very little, he said. Having said that, the car felt great and I was very comfortable from the start. This test gives us an opportunity to try things that we wouldnt have time to do during a race weekend, so hopefully itll help us to keep pushing forward.
After carrying out some installation laps, Kobayashi started set-up work in the heavily-revised C31. He completed 87 laps as he verified the cooling and aero performance of the new bodywork, diffuser and front wing. Team mate Sergio Perez will be in action on Thursday.
Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel finished in third, a further two-tenths down, whilst team mate Mark Webber, who drove the RB8 in the morning before handing it over to Vettel, was fourth quickest.
The track finally dried out today and the Tuscan weather kicked in at last, so we managed a few laps in the end, said the Australian. "We had absolutely truckloads of stuff to go through, but so far so good. Mileage is so limited these days it was good to be in the car again; this test has been very useful.
Felipe Massa was fifth quickest for Ferrari. Massa was charged with testing aero components for the F2012 and tyres. He completed 106 laps and will hand over the car to team mate Fernando Alonso on Thursday.
Toro Rosso team mates Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo split driving duties and finished sixth and seventh respectively. Vergne carried out comparison tests with different diffusers and exhaust systems, whilst Ricciardo completed just two short runs at the end of the day to prepare for his full day in the car on Thursday.
Mercedes Michael Schumacher was by far the most productive driver, covering 144 laps on his way to eighth in the timesheets. "I am very pleased with our testing day here, Schumacher explained. In the past, I have done so many kilometres on this beautiful track, and today I think I can say I was adding quite some more.
Unlike yesterday, we were able to gather really a lot of data, and like this we are learning more and more about our car which is absolutely positive. Of course we also tested some new things, which I would not want to go into detail about, so it is definitely worth coming here at this stage of the season."
Marussias Charles Pic was ninth and team mate Timo Glock finished in 12th. Pic conducted set-up work and tested some new rear suspension parts. Glock had been scheduled to debut a new front wing after lunch, but a problem with the cars power steering relegated him to the garage for over two hours and in the end he managed just a brief installation run.
Caterhams Vitaly Petrov was tenth, ahead of McLaren tester Gary Paffett in 11th. Petrov covered 112 laps as he evaluated new parts. The car has run faultlessly all day and we have completed everything we targeted in today's run plan, said the Russian. This afternoon we started running some new parts and even though it's too early to make any judgements on what sort of step forward they give us, I can say the new rear wing we tried immediately felt like it was giving us more downforce.
It was Paffetts first proper run in the MP4-27 and the Briton carried out work to help the team improve their aero correlation and broaden their understanding of tyre temperature and behaviour. Paffett, however, only managed 59 laps before a gearbox issue brought his session to a premature end. Fellow McLaren tester Oliver Turvey will take to the track on Thursday.
Thirteenth quickest was Force Indias Paul di Resta. It was an unlucky day all round for Di Resta, who completed just 14 laps after being interrupted by technical problems.
Its never nice to spend so much time sitting in the garage, but we had a few reliability concerns that we needed to resolve before we continued running, explained Force Indias chief engineer Jakob Andreasen. We suspected the issue was related to the hydraulic system of the car so changed that as a precaution. At the same time we chose to make the most of the downtime by bringing forward the engine change, which had been planned for the end of the session. It has been a tough day for the guys in the garage, but they did a great job. Due to the lack of running for Paul, he will now stay on for half a day tomorrow, before Nico (Hulkenberg) takes over in the afternoon.
Wednesday's final runner was Williams Bruno Senna in 14th. We had an extremely busy second day with Bruno completing almost our entire scheduled test programme, explained the teams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan. We evaluated a detailed aero and mechanical test matrix and have learnt a great deal.
Testing at Mugello concludes on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday test times from Mugello:
1. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:21.603, 97 Laps
2. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:21.603, 87 Laps
3. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:21.825, 64 Laps
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:21.997, 54 Laps
5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:22.257, 106 Laps
6. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:22.422, 65 Laps
7. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 1:22.588, 22 Laps
8. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, 1:23.404, 144 Laps
9. Charles Pic, Marussia, 1:23.982, 46 Laps
10. Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, 1:24.312, 112 Laps
11. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:24.480, 59 Laps
12. Timo Glock, Marussia, 1:24.499, 37 Laps
13. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:24.749, 14 Laps
14. Bruno Senna, Williams, 1:24.842, 100 Laps
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