Formula One: 2012 Barcelona Test 2 Recap

Last week saw the drivers and teams of competing in the 2012 Formula One World Championship return to the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona for the final pre-season test before the start of the championship. This was the final opportunity for the teams to tune their cars up before the first official session of the season. Not surprisingly for a new season with some new rules, we saw some unexpected names and teams put in good performances during the test.

Day 1 (March 1)

After abandoning the last test at Barcelona, Lotus came back flying out of the gate at this week’s final F1 pre-season test. Romain Grosjean topped the time sheets in the E20’s first full day of running since the Jerez test at the beginning of February. A front-suspension mounting issue on the second E20 chassis caused the team to abandon the last test. With that issue resolved, they’re looking quick heading into the season.

The first day’s running could be described by the word “parity.” Grosjean is the ninth man to top the timesheets over nine days of testing. The top six runners were all within one second while the next two drivers were less than a tenth of a second back of that. Another interesting note was the Caterham’s issue on the day was not car related. Heikki Kovalainen was supposed to run but a case of food poisoning saw Petrov take the wheel.

  1. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – 1:23.252
  2. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:23.510
  3. Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:23.820
  4. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:23.830
  5. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:23.992
  6. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:24.216
  7. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:24.305
  8. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:24.318
  9. Vitaly Petrov – Caterham-Renault – 1:24.876
  10. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Cosworth – 1:25.587

Day 2 (March 2)

Romain Grosjean became the first man to top the charts on more than one day over the course of the ten days of pre-season testing by being fastest for the second consecutive day at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Grosjean set that time in between eight red flags during the day’s running. There was a red flag to start the session because of fog. Michael Schumacher caused two red flags during the day’s running. Red flags were also caused by Maldonado, Vettel, Vergne, and Hulkenberg. Not causing a red flag but still having a problem was Kamui Kobayashi who lost an hour’s worth of running due to a hydraulic leak.

  1. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – 1:22.614
  2. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:23.126
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:23.361
  4. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:23.447
  5. Heikki Kovalainen – Caterham-Renault – 1:23.828
  6. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:23.836
  7. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:23.893
  8. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:23.978
  9. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:24.111
  10. Bruno Senna – Williams-Cosworth – 1:24.925
  11. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Cosworth – 1:25.801

Day 3 (March 3)

In a day shortened by rain in the afternoon, it was Sergio Perez who took his Sauber to the top of the charts on the third day of the second Barcelona test. The shortened day’s running likely contributed to the fact that nine of the day’s ten runners were within nine-tenths of a second of each other.

  1. Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:22.094
  2. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:22.103
  3. Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:22.155
  4. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:22.413
  5. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:22.446
  6. Bruno Senna – Williams-Cosworth – 1:22.480
  7. Heikki Kovalainen – Caterham-Renault – 1:22.630
  8. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:22.662
  9. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:22.932
  10. Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus-Renault – 1:25.379

Day 4 (March 4)

He led the first day of testing for 2012 and he also set the fastest time on the last day of pre-season testing for 2012. Kimi Raikkonen confirmed that he’s serious about his comeback to Formula One by setting the fastest time on the final day of testing which saw the top six drivers set times within half-a-second of each other.

  1. Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus-Renault – 1:22.030
  2. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:22.250
  3. Bruno Senna – Williams-Renault – 1:22.296
  4. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:22.312
  5. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:22.386
  6. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:22.430
  7. Vitaly Petrov – Caterham-Renault – 1:22.795
  8. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:22.939
  9. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Renault – 1:23.347
  10. Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:23.393
  11. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:23.608

Earlier in this post, I used the word “parity” and when looking at the times over the course of the week, that would appear to be the right word. Ten drivers topped the time sheets over twelve days of testing. The top 17 drivers who ran this week timed within one second of each other.

The question, as it always is during testing, is whether we’ve been provided an accurate picture of the upcoming season. While it’s entirely possible that Lotus (previously known as Renault) could be a front-runner, seeing Red Bull at the bottom of the charts seems like a fluke of testing rather than a reflection of their true pace. While they may not be up to speed right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re on pace come the trip to Albert Park, Australia.

Best Times of the Week

  1. Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus-Renault – 1:22.030
  2. Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:22.094
  3. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:22.103
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:22.155
  5. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:22.250
  6. Bruno Senna – Williams-Cosworth – 1:22.296
  7. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:22.312
  8. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:22.386
  9. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:22.413
  10. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:22.430
  11. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:22.446
  12. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – 1:22.614
  13. Heikki Kovalainen – Caterham-Renault – 1:22.630
  14. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:22.662
  15. Vitaly Petrov – Caterham-Renault – 1:22.795
  16. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:22.932
  17. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:22.939
  18. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:23.126
  19. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Renault – 1:23.347
  20. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:23.361

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