Wickens pips Ricciardo in the rain
|By Peter Mills||Tuesday, March 15th 2011, 20:05 GMT|
Robert Wickens became the first driver this year to deny ISR's Daniel Ricciardo top spot in a Formula Renault 3.5 test session at Barcelona today.
The Canadian Carlin driver was fastest in this afternoon's wet running, recording a lap of 1m55.321s. However, Red Bull's Formula 1 reserve driver Ricciardo maintained honour courtesy of his 1m54.303s this morning, which remained the fastest overall time of the day.
"The day went fairly well," said Wickens. "We stayed to the test plan and got quite a lot accomplished, which considering the weather was quite an achievement.
"It's good to be quickest in the afternoon, but I don't think the times from today are an accurate reflection [on the competitive order] as the conditions and everyone's tyre strategies were so variable. However, the car felt good, I think we have a good wet set-up here, and it's always a nice boost for the team to finish at the top of the timesheets."
Ricciardo, fellow Red Bull junior driver Jean-Eric Vergne and Wickens had also been in attendance at Barcelona's F1 test last week. The Perth-born driver has experience of Barcelona in damp conditions from 2010's collective test and nail-biting title decider, and declared himself satisfied with the ongoing acclimatisation to his new Czech team ISR after taking second to Wickens this afternoon.
"It always seems to rain when we are in Barcelona," said Ricciardo. "The rain was really heavy towards the end of the morning and during lunch, to the point where I didn't think we would get any running this afternoon. Thankfully, the weather settled enough for us to do some good testing in the wet. I feel like I'm gaining more experience and more confidence with the team, so we're in good shape."
Alexander Rossi was fastest of the rookies in the afternoon. The American finished four tenths behind Ricciardo in third in his Fortec entry. Team-mate, and reigning Italian Formula 3 champion, Cesar Ramos ended the afternoon in fourth position.
Albert Costa, who suffered from debilitating flu at this season's Motorland test, took a solid fifth ahead of British Formula 3 champion Vergne. Owing to the treacherous conditions, Frenchman Vergne struggled to capitalise on his new tyres, but was optimistic of improvement for Wednesday's concluding day of running.
"We had a little bit of a problem as the tyres were going off quite quickly, but we still made progress," said Vergne. "The time we did doesn't really reflect the work we did during the day; every time we put new tyres on the track got wetter or there was a red flag, but we're in a good position to make more progress tomorrow."
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Robert Wickens Carlin 1m55.321s 35 2. Daniel Ricciardo ISR 1m55.405s + 0.084s 41 3. Alexander Rossi Fortec 1m55.801s + 0.480s 14 4. Cesar Ramos Fortec 1m56.015s + 0.694s 19 5. Albert Costa Epsilon Euskadi 1m56.026s + 0.705s 27 6. Jean Eric Vergne Carlin 1m56.346s + 1.025s 35 7. Arthur Pic Tech 1 1m56.360s + 1.039s 46 8. Brendon Hartley Gravity-Charouz 1m56.492s + 1.171s 34 9. Miki Monras Pons 1m56.815s + 1.494s 47 10. Oliver Webb Pons 1m56.998s + 1.677s 42 11. Andre Negrao Draco 1m57.003s + 1.682s 42 12. Jake Rosenzweig Mofaz 1m57.151s + 1.830s 37 13. Nathanael Berthon ISR 1m57.232s + 1.911s 32 14. Walter Grubmuller P1 1m57.479s + 2.158s 26 15. Jan Charouz Gravity-Charouz 1m57.580s + 2.259s 25 16. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 1m57.637s + 2.316s 40 17. Stephane Richelmi Draco 1m57.816s + 2.495s 43 18. Daniel de Jong Comtec 1m58.113s + 2.792s 38 19. Nelson Panciatici KMP 1m58.218s + 2.897s 23 20. Daniel McKenzie Comtec 1m58.820s + 3.499s 28 21. Daniil Move P1 1m59.048s + 3.727s 40 22. Daniel Zampieri BVM Target 1m59.221s + 3.900s 30 23. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 1m59.272s + 3.951s 24 24. Sergio Canamasas BVM Target 1m59.547s + 4.226s 32