So testing is over. There have been a total of two red flags: one in the morning from Nico Rosberg caused by a hydraulics leak, and one right at the end from Fernando Alonso! It’s too early to know why that was, since the session has just finished.
We can’t get a real comparison with the teams because some of them ran more than others, and they were testing different things. Vitaly Petrov had hardly any time out on track (9 laps), and with Mercedes’ problems they just about got in some running with Schumacher at the end.
Both Di Resta and Hulkenberg did well in the Force Indias, with only Sebastian Vettel going faster than his fellow German, and that’s with Force India running an older car. However, running the older car does mean they can focus on things like tyres and playing with any 2011 parts on the car such as the rear wing without testing everything.
Last year’s times for the first day were slightly faster, probably due to familiarity with the tyres and lack of KERS to worry about. Only McLaren had the f-duct back then as well. This year, drivers have to get used to the Pirelli tyres, the adjustable rear wing and KERS, as well as testing everything else to make sure it works. That’s hard!
1 – Sebastian Vettel 1:13.769
2 – Nico Hulkenberg 1:13.938 (+0.169)
3 – Gary Paffett 1:14.292 (+0.523)
4 – Paul Di Resta 1:14.461 (+0.692)
5 – Fernando Alonso 1:14.553 (+0.784)
These five times were the only ones comparable to the 2010 times, which ran from 1:12.5 to 1:15.0 .
6 – Kamui Kobayashi 1:15.621 (+1.852)
7 – Jerome D’Ambrosio 1:16.003 (+2.234)
8 – Vitaly Petrov 1:16.351 (+2.582)
9 – Michael Schumacher 1:16.450 (+2.681)
10 – Jaime Alguersuari 1:17.214 (+3.445)
11 – Rubens Barrichello 1:17.335 (+3.566)
12 – Narain Karthikeyan 1:18.020 (+4.251)
13 – Nico Rosberg 1:19.930 (+6.161)
It’s good driving here from Jerome D’Ambrosio, especially coming ahead of some faster cars. Narain Karthikeyan is about as slow as expected in the HRT, however, at two seconds slower than the Virgin. Toro Rosso didn’t manage much running – only 19 laps – and only early in the session. Nobody made 100 laps, but Alonso was only three off on 97. As the drivers get used to the cars and mechanical problems get fixed, we should see times improve. Will we see the 1:11-12s of last year by day 3? I hope so!