McLaren driver Sergio Perez finally backed up some of his big talk from the off season today as he topped the time sheets for day two of Formula 1 pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Perez completed his 1:21.848 lap using the Pirelli soft-compound tires, which seem to have been the quickest tires overall thus far in testing. The Mexican driver, in his first year with McLaren, completed 97 laps in all in his Mercedes-powered MP4-28.
Sebastian Vettel was once again the fastest driver at the lunch break, and would once again not finish in that top spot. Vettel ran a 1:22.197 in his Red Bull Racing RB9 and put in 84 laps before his day was cut short by a loose wheel.
Red Bull had Vettel running race simulations in the afternoon, which included multiple pit stops, and the wheel was not properly secured following the final stop. The back-to-back-to-back World Champion stopped the car at the end of pit lane to bring out the first red flag of the day.
The third fastest driver of the day, Kimi Raikkonen, also had his day shortened. Raikkonen had run less than five laps when a gearbox issue forced the team to take the car into the garage for the majority of the day. The Iceman finally got back out on the circuit with less than two hours to go in the day and managed to put in 43 laps and run a 1:22.697.
This was the first serious mechanical issue for Lotus F1 Team and their new E21. Raikkonen was clearly frustrated by the issue when talking to the media, but pointed out that “We test to find any problems so in that respect we’re doing a good job.”
Day two’s marathon man was Lewis Hamilton who logged 121 laps in his Mercedes F1 W04and landed fourth on the time sheets with a 1:22.726 lap time. Mercedes spent the morning testing different exhaust configurations on their new machine and focused on longer runs in the afternoon.
The fifth spot went to Spanish native Fernando Alonso. This makes two days in a row that Alonso has been one of the top five fastest drivers, which is impressive considering that he didn’t participate at all in the Jerez tests. Alonso ran a 1:23.247 and put in 76 laps, bringing his two day lap total up to 186. An exhaust issue forced Ferrari to shut down the F138 earlier than planned, however.
William F1 ran admirably on day two, but just missed out on the number fiver spot it grabbed in day one. Valtteri Bottas got in the cockpit of the new FW35 for the first time and spent most of the day doing aero shakedowns on the car.
Day two provided little in the way of surprises despite some mechanical issues. The top five spots were occupied by the teams you expect to see in the top five, and though three of the teams had their days cut short they still wound up running very fast.
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