It’s only testing, no racing or anything, but there is an amazing level of interest in what is happening in Valencia this week.
Yesterday was the very first time we got to see the 2010 F1 cars and the return of Michael Schumacher, but even today there were crowds of people at the track and huge numbers following the near real time updates of the action by journalists and participants. The interest in yesterday’s action was so great that Autosport.com reported a record number (over 1.5 million) page impressions.
Right, let’s cut to the chase, these were the fastest times today:
1. Massa (BRA) – Ferrari – 124 laps – 1min 11.722 secs
2. Kobayashi (JAP) – Sauber – 96 laps – 1min 12.056 secs
3. Hamilton (GBR) – McLaren – 108 laps – 1 min 12.256 secs
4. Kubica (POL) – Renault – 119 laps – 1min 12.426 secs
5. Rosberg (GER) – Mercedes GP – 119 laps – 1min 12.899 secs
6. Barrichello (BRA) – Williams – 102 laps – 1 min 13.377 secs
7. Buemi (SUI) -Toro Rosso- 107 laps – 1:13.823 secs
So does the above tell us anything about who is quickest? Unfortunately not a lot. When teams were running heavy fuel loads they were producing times some 5 to 6 seconds slower than on light fuel loads. Massa was quickest with a 1min 11.7, but was doing 1min 16secs laps with a lot of fuel on board.
Teams seemed to mainly concentrate on heavier fuel loads and there were some long runs, with Barrichello’s Williams doing a 30 lap stint at one point.
Here’s what we learnt from Day 2 of testing:
- All the cars seemed quite reliable and completed on average over 100 laps each. Only Renault suffered a technical problem with an engine failure, 5mins from the end of the session.
- Massa/Ferrari appear to be quick and topped the table for most of the day. They also completed a massive 124 laps without any problems. Ferrari are looking good.
- Kobayashi confirmed the pace he showed in his 2 grand prix last year and confirmed that the Sauber is quick (2nd fastest time today) – “It was definitely a good day. … We had no problems with the car and covered a lot of mileage. The car felt good. I enjoyed driving a lot and also working with the team.”
- McLaren had another quiet day, but Lewis Hamilton was closer to the Ferrari time. He completed 108 laps and seemed happy with the car, “”It was a night and day difference and feeling compared to the first lap and the first test day in 2009.”
- Renault seemed to be improved from yesterday and Kubica was able to put in some more competitive times
- Toro Rosso still seem like they are struggling and their best time was 2 seconds slower than Massa’s Ferrari
- Rosberg managed to put in a time quicker than Schumacher, but not by a lot. The Mercedes and Williams teams both seemed to focus on longer runs and heavier fuel loads.
Tomorrow will be even more exciting than today. Spanish double World Champion Alonso will be driving the Ferrari for the very first time and it is expected there will be a large crowd of people to cheer him on. Jenson Button gets to drive for his new team for the first time (he arrived in Valencia this afternoon) and Michael Schumacher is back in the Mercedes tomorrow (he went for a bike ride today). Brand new team Virgin is also due to debut tomorrow.
And it’s only testing?!
More photos posted on Twitter from a variety of sources: