New McLaren signing in control in Barcelona as Vettel hits problems.
Wed 20.02.13, 8:08PM
McLaren’s new signing Sergio Perez ran quickest on day two of Formula One’s second pre-season test, the Mexican driver lapping the Circuit de Catalunya in 1:21.848, three tenths ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel.
“We stopped the car once as we saw a small loss of pressure. The second stop towards the end of the day caused a red flag and it simply took too much time to turn everything around, so we couldn’t get out again.”
Perez posted his time on soft tyres in the early part of the afternoon session, dropping Vettel, who had dominated the morning session with a series of short runs, to second on the timesheet.
Vettel’s day was hampered by a series of stoppages, however, the RB9 spending long periods in the garage and afterwards the champion admitted it had not been the smoothest day, especially as the team was forced to abandon their programme half an hour before the end of the afternoon session when Vettel pulled over following a pit stop.
“We had some issues with reliability today and we couldn’t do as many laps as we wanted, but I think it’s better that this kind of thing happens today rather than in Australia,” said Vettel, who still managed 84 laps. “We stopped the car once as we saw a small loss of pressure. The second stop towards the end of the day caused a red flag and it simply took too much time to turn everything around, so we couldn’t get out again.”
Elsewhere, Kimi Raikkonen had an even more frustrating day with his Lotus being garage-bound until half way through due to more problems with gearbox electronics, which caused the team to switch out the entire unit in the morning.
Eventually the Finn was able toi get in some running, completing 43 laps and climbing to third on the timesheet, which he said proved the troubled car is at least quick.
“If yesterday wasn’t an ideal day then today was more of the same,” said Raikkonen. “Fortunately, once we were able to get a lap in we could see that the car has good pace. We test to find any problems so in that respect we’re doing a good job, but it’s frustrating. It’s no secret that we want to get more laps on the board and that’s the target for the rest of this test and the final sessions next week.”
Lewis Hamilton landed the day’s fourth-fastest time, eight tenths off the time of Perez, and also registered the days’ largest lap total, with 121 tours completes by the time the clock ran out on the day’s work. The Mercedes driver set his quickest time just before lunch during a ten-lap run on the hard compound Pirelli tyre.
“We're making continual steps forward in terms of our understanding of the set-up and the tyres,” he said. “The hard compound work in particular was pretty good today, although all of tyres are showing degradation, so looking after them isn’t easy. The guys are working really hard both here and at the factory, and it’s encouraging to see the amount of work that's being put in.”
The top five was rounded Fernando Alonso, while Valtteri Bottas was sixth-fastest for Williams and the Finn was impressed with the feel of the team’s new FW35.
“Straight out of the box I knew we had made a step forward from last year, and I am looking forward to working to develop the car even further,” he said. “It’s great to know we have a really good base to start from but there are still a number of areas we can improve upon, so I’m really excited for the season ahead.”
Daniel Ricciardo finished the day in seventh place with a lap of 1:23.718, just under two tenths ahead of Force India’s Paul Di Resta. Nico Hulkenberg was ninth for Sauber, ahead of Marussia’s Max Chilton and Caterham’s Charles Pic.