Romain Grosjean has become the first driver to go fastest on two separate days in pre-season Formula 1 testing, topping the times on the second day in Barcelona.
Having been third fastest in the morning session, Grosjean was busy after lunch, completing a full 60-lap race simulation in the Lotus, using Pirelli’s soft and hard compounds.
He backed that up with a series of fast laps, setting the benchmark time of 1m22.614s with just minutes remaining, on a set of soft tyres.
Jean-Eric Vergne ended the day second, despite not completing a flying lap following the lunch break. The Toro Rosso stopped and briefly caught fire with an engine problem right before lunch in Barcelona, bringing out the red flag.
While a full race simulation was planned for the afternoon session, the STR7 didn’t appear again until within half an hour of the session’s end, and was restricted to pitstop practice.
Neither Vergne nor Grosjean will be back in their respective cars for the rest of the test, with Daniel Ricciardo set to take over for Toro Rosso tomorrow, and Kimi Raikkonen jumping into the Lotus.
Today's times: Pos--Driver--------Team------------Time--------------Laps 1. Grosjean Lotus 1m22.614s 123 2. Vergne Toro Rosso 1m23.126s +0.512 31 3. Vettel Red Bull 1m23.361s +0.747 85 4. Alonso Ferrari 1m23.447s +0.833 124 5. Kovalainen Caterham 1m23.828s +1.214 104 6. Kobayashi Sauber 1m23.836s +1.222 77 7. Hulkenberg Force India 1m23.893s +1.279 33 8. Schumacher Mercedes 1m23.978s +1.364 79 9. Hamilton McLaren 1m24.111s +1.497 65 10. Senna Williams 1m24.925s +2.311 48 11. Maldonado Williams 1m25.801s +3.187 20
In the morning Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was third fastest, another tenth down on Alonso. He was running a programme that concentrated on set-ups and aerodynamic work.
Morning times: Pos--Driver--------Team------------Time-------------Laps 1. Vergne Toro Rosso 1m23.126s 31 2. Alonso Ferrari 1m23.447s +0.321 35 3. Grosjean Lotus 1m23.528s +0.402 34 4. Vettel Red Bull 1m23.536s +0.410 37 5. Kovalainen Caterham 1m23.828s +0.702 34 6. Hulkenberg Force India 1m23.893s +0.767 33 7. Hamilton McLaren 1m24.111s +0.985 30 8. Schumacher Mercedes 1m24.663s +1.537 19 9. Maldonado Williams 1m25.801s +2.675 20 10. Kobayashi Sauber 1m26.111s +2.985 35
“Not at all, nothing really different,” said Grosjean. “It doesn’t change much. Exactly the same good feeling as in Jerez, we can push and we can trust the car – and you can really play with it, which is enjoyable.
“When you have a problem you are a little bit wondering what is going on, so we checked all day long that everything was fine – but I knew what we needed to do to repair the car and make it strong, and when we left we got much stronger.
“You can trust the car and push it to the limit,” said the Frenchman. “If you push a little bit too much you know what is going on next, and this is really good when you are driving the car.
“You push hard and it understeers in the fast corners, then if you push a little bit harder there will be a little bit more understeer. But what is not coming is that you have a snap from somewhere and you don’t understand what is going on, which is not really nice when you are driving.
“This car is really good on that aspect, and you can get quite easily on the paper a good laptime.”
Kimi arrived in Barcelona with a guest and watched the test from the garage: