Webber storms to the top on day one of final test
Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber ran quickest on day one of Formula One’s final pre-season test in Barcelona, setting a time over 1.6 seconds quicker than closest rival Lewis Hamilton.
"It was tricky enough because of the greasy conditions on the track. We only got one hour at the end of the day in more stable conditions."
After a morning session marred by frequent showers, the rain stayed away in the afternoon to give the teams a chance to put on slick tyres and test performance. And in the dying moments of the session Webber strapped on soft tyres and leaped to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:22.693.
However, afterwards the Australian admitted that it had not been the easiest ride.
“[The wind] was pretty heavy, I must say. There was a big tailwind down to Turn One,” he said. “And in other sections it was pretty dusty. The level of wind wasn’t trivial but to be honest it was tricky enough anyway because of the greasy conditions on the track. We only got one hour at the end of the day in more stable conditions.
“We opted to put on a couple of sets of tyres at the end and see how it went and it was OK,” he added. “We’ve still got more to come, but that was the most we could get done in a short, limited programme in dry conditions at the end of the day.”
Hamilton, meanwhile, set his second-placed time on medium tyres.
“The track started out really wet this morning but thankfully the conditions dried out later on and we were able to complete some proper running,” said the Mercedes driver, who added that his afternoon had not been about performance. “It felt good to work through the race simulation this afternoon; both to get myself back in practice and to put valuable miles on the car. The last couple of days of pre-season testing are always really exciting when everyone starts to add their upgrades so I'm looking forward to the weekend.”
Jean-Eric Vergne was third for Toro Rosso, while Williams Valtteri Bottas continued to demonstrate the apparent competitiveness of the team’s FW35 with fourth place. Fifth went to McLaren’s Sergio Perez.
The weather caused problems for several teams and the red flags came out a number of times during the day. The first appeared within half an hour of the start of the morning session when Lotus’ Romain Grosjean spun at Turn 12. He was later followed, just before the lunnch break, by Esteban Gutierrez, the Sauber driver sliding off and into the barriers at Turn Three. Finally, late in the day, Felipe Massa’s Ferrari ground to a halt on circuit as the Brazilian neared the end of a long run.
1. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:22.693, 90 laps
2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:24.348, 113 laps
3. Jean-Eric Vergne,Toro Rosso, 1:25.017, 59 laps
4. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:26.458, 85 laps
5. Sergio Perez, McLaren, 1:26.538, 100 laps
6. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, 1:26.574, 92 laps
7. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:27.107, 57 laps
8. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:27.541, 112 laps
9. Max Chilton, Marussia, 1:28.166, 78 laps
10. Charles Pic, Caterham, 1:28.644, 83 laps
11. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:34.928, 52 laps