Thankfully it was not the washout fully expected, the morning was wet and damp but the track slowly dried and the teams got the opportunity to do a lot of dry running. Here are the fastest times from today:
|1||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren (Mercedes)||1min 19.583secs||113|
|2||Adrian Sutil||Force India (Mercedes)||1min 20.180sec||84||-0.597|
|3||Rubens Barrichello||Williams (Cosworth)||1min 20.341secs||90||-0.758|
|4||Robert Kubica||Renault||1min 20.358secs||86||-0.775|
|5||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||1min 20.613secs||84||-1.030|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull (Renault)||1min 21.203secs||90||-1.620|
|7||Felipe Massa||Ferrar1||1min 21.486secs||160||-1.903|
|8||Pedro de la Rosa||BMW Sauber (Ferrari)||1min 22.134secs||105||-2.551|
|9||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin Racing (Cosworth)||1min 22.912secs||63||-3.329|
|10||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso (Ferrari)||1min 24.072secs||98||-4.489|
This is what you need to know from Day 4 at Jerez:
- The teams mostly concentrated on doing runs with a lot of fuel rather than going for quick times on low fuel.
- Hamilton was fastest today and of the entire test with 1min 19.583 which was achieved with an expected low fuel glory run right at the end of the day. His times otherwise were a lot slower than that, with 1min 23.365 being his quickest time before the late run. He was quiet today, except for the end, and completed 113 laps without any issues. For the first time at Jerez McLaren did not appear to have a funny-looking device attached to the car! Trayan Sarafov was at the track watching the different driving styles and reported “Hamilton did 2 series of 2-3 laps and he was really aggressive on the apex. He keeps the car on high revs without any sliding”
- Massa did a super impressive 160 laps today (500km), which is more than double the length of the last grand prix at Jerez (69 laps). For the first time, Ferrari had 2 issues with the car today, but nothing serious at all and both stoppages were pre-cautionary, they claimed. Out on track Massa looked smooth and impressive. Trayan Sarafov reported “my impressions are that Massa is really quick. He opens the curve, slide the rear-end a little and attack as hard as possible, Montoya-style”.
- The Williams of Rubens Barrichello has not seemed quick this week or last week, but Williams had claimed they had been concentrating on set up and running heavy fuel loads and today they would focus on performance work. They were true to their word and as the track started to dry, Rubens was one of the first ones to start lowering the times and finished 3rd fastest on the day and it is thought they still kept a reasonable amount of fuel in the car. Trayan Sarafov reported, “Barrichello is also fast, really fast. He searches the right balance between the front and the rear. If the car is okay, he can be a monster. And from what I’ve seen so far he really is. Great stint with lots of laps under his belt. All consistent with very little mistakes.”
- Jaime Aguersuari in the Toro Rosso was slowest today but that can only be because they were concentrating on heavy fuel loads. Yesterday morning, he put in a sub 1min 20secs lap with little effort and today he best time was over 4secs slower. That clearly highlights the difference in times on heavy and low fuel loads and how impossible (and infuriating!) it is to try to analyse and evaluate the different teams and drivers. The Ferrari engine is being very reliable for them. Trayan Sarafov watching Jaime said, “Alguersuari is closely to Barrichello but the difference is that his car seems not to have the right balance. He found it hard to put the front-end of the car into the corner, then runs into trouble with the rear and is not smooth.”
- Force India and Stuil seemed very happy with their day, although did not put in as many laps as they would have preferred (only 62). Sutil was second quickest today and was fastest in speed traps one and two showing the good aero efficiency of the Force India car.
- Sebastian Vettel had another relatively quiet day and there are no clear signs that the car is super quick. Vettel will be pleased he put in 90 laps without any major problems and when the wet track was drying, he was one of the quickest, but once they all switched to slick tyres Vettel was not one of the quickest, but we do not know the fuels loads. There certainly was no evidence of Vettel trying to do a low fuel glory run. “Vettel was extremely precise. Short runs – no mistakes” tweeted Sarafov.
- Pedro de la Rosa and Sauber did not seem to have such a great day, although they did get 105 laps in without any issues and the car does seem to look quick. De la Rosa has said he needs to get rid of some of the rust from his driving and perhaps the car is not set up just right for him yet. Sarafov reported “De la Rosa’s car is extremely unstable. Long runs but without any consistency. He tries hard to keep the car into the racing line, losing revs & time in the chicane.”
- Di Grassi and Virgin Racing will be very happy with what happened. They took a long while before they appeared on track, but were able to complete 63 laps without any technical problems and di Grassi put in a fastest time of 1min 22.912secs, only 3 seconds off Hamilton’s time. Who says you need wind tunnels?
- Schumi and Mercedes had a quiet-ish day and neither impressed or did anything to have concern about them. He did cause a red flag by stopping on the back straight but it is suspected this may have been a deliberate systems check, possibly an out of fuel run. Slightly annoying for Hamilton though as he was 26 laps into a long run when it happened.
- Kubica and Renault put in some competitive times and completed 86 laps without any problems. Other than that, not much to say about their efforts today, except perhaps that their car has the most distinctive livery and reminds me of the buzzin’ hornet Jordan cars of the 90s.
That brings us to the end of the 2nd pre-season test (2 more to go). An evaluation report of how the teams and drivers are doing can be found here.
Here are some pictures of the action from Day 4 at Jerez: