First F1 Test: Massa Keeps Going and Going, Saubers Remain Quick

What Happens When Extra Time Is a Bonus

12:08am EST — In a continued dominance of laps run and lap times, Felipe Massa again set the fastest time Tuesday during 2010 Formula1 winter testing in Valencia.  The following times set by those drivers listed as participating, their team, the fastest lap set, and the number of laps completed:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:11.722, 124 Laps
2. Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber, 1:12.056, 96 Laps
3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:12.256, 108 Laps
4. Robert Kubica, Renault, 1:12.426, 119 Laps
5. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:12.899, 119 Laps
6. Rubens Barrichello, Williams, 1:13.377, 102 Laps
7. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:13.823, 107 Laps

While it is again unclear what sort of fuel load each team is testing, along with all the other tweaks available, the standings remain about the same as they did for Monday’s final testing times.  Ferrari then Sauber (despite the switch from Pedro de la Rosa to Kobayashi at the latter team) with two or three tenths between them as the top two as the same.  However, Hamilton’s times are a bit higher in the standings than reserve driver Gary Paffett’s were yesterday, and 1.6 seconds faster.  Of course, all of the times dropped for the second day, such as the  nearly 2.6 second faster lap time set by Kubica Tuesday as compared to Monday.  The Mercedes, only driven by Rosberg Tuesday, found more speed, but not as much as the other teams while Buemi’s Toro Rosso improved greatly but remained at the bottom of the timesheets.  The Williams appeared to continue to underperform, but an official Twitter feed from the team stated, “Rubens is only doing long runs today on heavy tanks for race simulation work so don’t expect any really fast times!”

Wednesday brings some anticipated “battles” with Micheal Schumacher returning to the circuit to post times alongside current champion Jenson Button and former champion Fernando Alonso.  Two (Nico Hulkenberg, Vitaly Petrov) of the three rookies testing this week will also take to the circuit for the first time.  Wednesday’s driver line-up will include the following:
McLaren: Jenson Button
Mercedes: Michael Schumacher
Ferrari: Fernando Alonso
Sauber: Pedro de la Rosa
Williams: Nico Hülkenberg
Renault: Vitaly Petrov
Toro Rosso: Jaime Alguersuari

On a personal note, while many of those at the track are put off by the looks and liveries of these 2010, the more I check out the little details on the cars, the sexier they look.  Last season’s rules changes that removed many of the little winglets made for cars with more stark lines.  The continued rules for 2010 have produced curvier and swoopier bodies enhanced by color schemes designed to highlight the dips and bends in the car.  A bit different and slightly odd in cases? yes. Appealing to the eye? yes, as well.


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