Maldonado On Top For Lotus In Barcelona

The F1 circus remained at the Circuit de Catalunya today as the second day of the second in-season test got underway. At least, it got underway for everyone excluding Caterham who announced that they would not take part due to the damage sustained in Kamui Kobayashi’s crash on Tuesday.

Of the ten remaining cars, it was Lotus’s E22 that went fastest today, piloted by Pastor Maldonado. The team praised their “trouble-free and extremely productive” test which saw them complete 102 laps and set a fastest lap of 1.24.871. Nico Rosberg finished second for Mercedes and his run included testing the team’s trial ‘megaphone’ exhaust system, but after also setting 102 laps, the German reported that: “Just tried the new exhaust system, but [it] didn’t work out. [It] didn’t make it much louder. We’re pushing for another solution”. 

Kimi Raikkonen was back in the car for Ferrari and his 94-lap test followed yesterday’s short run where he completed a mere 20. The Finn was followed by Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez had his run interrupted by a powertrain problem, but Test Engineer, Paul Russell, insisted that this did not cost the team too badly. He ended his running in fourth, over two seconds behind Maldonado’s quickest time – although Gutierrez did not sample the super-soft tyre compounds.

Susie Wolff was one of the few to test the quicker Pirelli tyres, but her running was limited following a red flag-prompting spin at turn 11 about an hour into her run. Despite the unplanned break, Wolff completed her run plan by lunchtime, leaving the afternoon session to just familiarise herself with the car.

Jules Bianchi was sixth for Marussia who topped the timesheet with Chilton on day one (although his super-soft fastest time was 1.6s behind that set by Maldonado today). His lap time was a second behind that of his team-mate, although he did not use the softer and quicker tyres.

Sebastian Vettel was in the car for Red Bull and took the team to seventh as they again focused on the development of the car instead of setting fastest laps. Their development was limited, however, as a gearbox repair from yesterday spilled over into today and delayed the start of their testing. Vettel looked positive and reported: “We did a lot of laps which, considering the time we had, was good. I would say it was a useful, if not perfect, day.”

Force India test driver Daniel Juncadella took the VJM07 out today but hit the barriers at turn 4, which, obviously, limited his track action. Nonetheless, Chief Engineer Tom McCullough said: He gave useful feedback on the tyres and general car performance,” and concluding that, “overall it was a successful test”. McLaren also ran their test driver Stoffel Vandoorne today, and his 136 lap run proved to be the longest run of any team this test. Daniil Kvyat was tenth for Toro Rosso and caused two red flags through his 21 lap run.

Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1.24.871 102 laps
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1.25.805 102 laps
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1.26.480 94 laps
Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1.26.972 85 laps
Susie Wolff Williams 1.27.280 55 laps
Jules Bianchi Marussia 1.27.718 56 laps
Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1.27.973 73 laps
Daniel Juncadella Force India 1.28.278 91 laps
Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1.28.441 136 laps
Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.28.910 21 laps

Image courtesy Lotus F1 Team.



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