Vettel fastest as testing resumes
|By Matt Beer||Wednesday, February 17th 2010, 16:09 GMT|
Sebastian Vettel put Red Bull at the head of the order on a test day for the first time in 2010, as the third pre-season test got underway with another wet day at Jerez.
Conditions were difficult throughout the day, with sunshine only occasionally breaking through between heavy showers and persistent dampness.
Vettel made the most of a brighter spell in early afternoon to set a best time of 1m22.593s, which stood as the day's fastest.
Lewis Hamilton made a last minute improvement as the track dried again to take second, 0.424 seconds down on Vettel. The McLaren driver demoted Ferrari's Felipe Massa to third. Both drivers had earlier lost a little time by stopping on track and contributing to the day's tally of five red flags.
Sebastien Buemi kept Toro Rosso near the top of the times with fourth place, ahead of Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa and Mercedes' Michael Schumacher. The latter was the most active driver of the day, completing 111 laps.
"The weather was really changing all the time today which made it difficult to follow our planned programme and to have a clear picture of everyone's performance," Schumacher said.
"From the laps that we achieved, we have again confirmed the reliability of the car, and from the impressions and data gathered, we can say that the pace and performance looks very good. We have a strong basis to keep up the development this week here in Jerez and next week at the final test in Barcelona."
De la Rosa also admitted the weather did not help, but the Spaniard was still satisfied with his work.
"The conditions were obviously not ideal today, but overall things went well for us, and we were able to complete all the work we had on the programme for today," he said.
"However, we hope to get in some more laps in dry conditions because we still have a lot of work to do. The weather forecast is not very good for tomorrow, so we have to make the most of every dry window we get."
Force India used both reserve driver Paul di Resta and race driver Adrian Sutil. Di Resta caused an early red flag with a half-spin and eventually ended up just behind Sutil - who took over for the afternoon - on the timesheets.
Rubens Barrichello caused both of the other two red flags when his Williams came to a halt. He was 10th behind Renault's Vitaly Petrov, but did complete 109 laps when on-track.
One of the most significant aspects of today's session was the new Lotus team's first test alongside its rivals. Reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy covered 76 laps in an encouraging start for the squad.
The Malaysian was 9.2s off Hamilton's pace, but 0.6s in front of Virgin's Timo Glock, as the other new team present completed only 10 laps.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:22.593 99 2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:23.017 72 3. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:23.204 72 4. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:23.322 79 5. de la Rosa BMW-Sauber (B) 1:23.367 76 6. M.Schumacher Mercedes GP (B) 1:23.803 111 7. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:24.272 28 8. di Resta Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:25.088 74 9. Petrov Renault (B) 1:26.237 55 10. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:27.320 109 11. Fauzy Lotus-Cosworth (B) 1:31.848 76 12. Glock Virgin-Cosworth (B) 1:32.417 10 All Timing Unofficial