Nico Rosberg has led day one of the second week of pre-season testing, two weeks after the first test got underway in Jerez. The German, who won last year’s Chinese Grand Prix, fought off another reliability problem, this time the gearbox, to pip Kimi Raikkonen to top of the timesheets in what is already looking to be a much tighter test then the week in Jerez.
The Mercedes suffered from reliability problems in Jerez; Rosberg’s car bursting into flames while Lewis’ Mercedes hit a barrier following a brakes failure. Having hammered all problems out by day three, they ran 149 laps on Thursday and 148 laps on Friday to make up for lost time. It seems to be looking good for the team as Rosberg’s lap time of 1.22.616 saw him just 0.007 seconds faster than Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen who completed 44 laps.
Fernando Alonso was third in line, not a bad achievement as he missed all of the first test while undergoing ‘Olympic standard training’ in preparation for the season ahead. He lapped his home circuit in a 1:22.952 which put him over 0.3 seconds behind Raikkonen and just 0.012 from reigning World Champion, Sebastian Vettel. The German took his Red Bull on a spin of the circuit and after 66 laps had set a fastest lap time of 1:22.965.
Pastor Maldonado, who launched the 2013 Williams this morning, gave the FW35 its first piece of track action today. His lap time of 1:23.733 set him just ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo who managed a 1:23.733 after 72 laps of Catalunya. McLaren’s 2013 gamble Sergio Perez took his MP4-28 for 75 laps of the circuit during which he couldn’t better a 1:24.124 while focusing on long runs.
Right behind Perez is Paul di Resta who completed 82 laps with his VJM06. He will be driving the car on the Tuesday and Wednesday before handing it over to Jules Bianchi on Friday and Adrian Sutil on Thursday in what appears to be a shootout to the seat. Esteban Guttierez finished the day in ninth overall having ran out of fuel early in the morning and bringing out the red flags. His 1:25.124 set later in the session set him comfortably ahead of Max Chilton who recorded a 1:26.747 in his Marussia. In dead last was Charles Pic who suffered a short day following a technical failure at the start of the afternoon session.
Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta, Valterri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Giedo van der Garde and Max Chilton pilot their respective cars on Wednesday.