Jerez Test 2 Analysis: Red Bull Consistently Quickest


What Happens When a Determination is Hard to Make

12:05am EST — (my analysis of the second test session at Jerez, as was earlier published at Formula1Blog)
Another winter testing session is done, with only one more to go before the racing starts in Bahrain.  If you thought the weather was capricious for last week’s testing in Jerez, that was nothing on this one.  True, the teams had less to complain about with actual sunshine the final two days, but that change from torrential rains and wind to dry conditions may make determinations about speed and readiness levels even more difficult to make.  As usual, let’s try, though.  It seems that Toro Rosso, last week’s most consistent team, was not so consistent this week.  Instead, it appears that the most consistently quick team was Red Bull, and especially in the hands of Sebastian Vettel.

Wednesday was the, apparently, usual weather in Jerez in mid-February, with rain.  Sebastian Vettel was fastest for Red Bull in the day-long session (1:22.593) that saw multiple red flags, driver changes at Force India, and another day of low laps run for Virgin Racing. Ferrari, however, were not pleased, noting on Twitter, “Honestly, it was not a very productive day for the team. Anyway, we did what we could.”  LotusF1, in their debut, stopped about an hour early after running seventy-six laps.  According to the team, Tony Fernandes, and Mike Gascoyne Twitter accounts, Fauzy was driving without power steering, due to a supplier issue and not a mechanical problem.  With Williams in tenth, LotusF1 in eleventh, and Virgin Racing in twelfth, all the Cosworth-powered cars were lumped together at the bottom of the timesheet.  Williams, through Claire Williams on Twitter, continues to note that “Rubens is doing long runs to check systems this morning” and “Rubens is doing set-up work this afternoon” and that the times are not necessarily representative.

Thursday was a bit brighter, with alternately damp and sunny conditions, though the weather never remained the same for long.  Rubens Barrichello set the fastest time of the Thursday session, 1:27.145, putting Williams on top.  Even more surprising was Vitaly Petrov’s second fastest time in the Renault, about .7 back.  Lewis Hamilton, however, dropped from fastest Wednesday to tenth Thursday.  Red flags flied as drivers spun on the wet track, including one for Heikki Kovalainen’s crash into a tire barrier, for which he was apologetic, “Had a crash and damaged front wing, session over for us. S..t! My mistake, tomorrow we go again,” since the team had no spare font wing at the circuit.  The teams concentrated on “doing some work on race procedures and hoping it might dry out,” as Mercedes GP put it on Twitter.  Ferrari noted the same thing, “We’re just carrying on some work on race procedures as the track conditions are not really helpful to do anything different.”

Friday began the drying out process for the teams and faster lap times began appearing.  Mark Webber’s fastest time (1:19.299) was the fastest of all testing at Jerez this year, to that point.  Following him were Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg, and Michael Schumacher, with just over 2.3 seconds covering the top five lap times.  Most of the teams continued to say that they were running heavier race-simulation fuel loads, but whether they were being truthful or covering slower times remains to be seen.

Finally, Saturday saw the fastest times of this session at Jerez and of the 2010 testing (though the times were still off those of the young drivers test late last year).  The teams spent the afternoon working on race set-up, and the fastest times set in the morning held up all day.  Jenson Button set the fastest time of the day, session, and both test sessions at Jerez on Saturday, a 1:18.871.  Force India was faster on this dry day than they had been in the wet, and also mentioned on Twitter, “For this week’s test we’ve been testing Bridgestone’s softer compounds.”  They explained that “We’ve noticed that the softer compounds grain very quickly in the low temperatures. The mediums last 10 – 12 laps…They should however handle better in the higher temperatures we’ll see in the races,” while reminding readers that only the harder compound from Bridgestone was available for last week’s test.

With that recap, it is time to move on to looking at the overall performance of each team and driver.  As with last week, it seems to be the most logical way of determining which team was “best” at this test, with all it’s weather issues and lack of fuel load knowledge, by determining which team was most consistent, and most consistently quicker than the other teams.  We will begin with the team rankings, then move on to the driver rankings.

Team Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Total Laps
Ferrari 3 5 2 6 374
Force India 7/8 7/9 7 4 378
LotusF1 11 12 11 11 315
McLaren 2 10 3 1 353
Mercedes 6 4 5 5 377
Red Bull 1 3 1 8 393
Renault 9 2 6 2 329
Toro Rosso 4 11 9 7 362
Sauber 5 6 8 3 229
Virgin Racing 12 8 10 10 170
Williams 10 1 4 9 344

As you can see, Red Bull (1-3-1-8), McLaren (2-10-3-1), Mercedes (6-4-5-5), Force India (7/8-7/9-7-4), Ferrari (3-5-2-6), Renault (9-2-6-2), Virgin Racing (12-8-10-10), and LotusF1 (11-12-11-11) are the team most consistent teams, though both Ferrari and Renault are only about 50% consistent, in their rankings over the past four days of testing.  Red Bull was consistently ranked the fastest, with that one day out of line, though McLaren is as consistent, they are only marginally ranked slower than Red Bull.  Toro Rosso was neither as consistent nor as quick, as compared to the other teams, this week as last week.  For this second Jerez test, Red Bull was the most consistently quick, with McLaren close behind.  McLaren also posted the fastest time of this session and last on Saturday, in the hands of Jenson Button.

As for the drivers, they are a bit more spread out, with two test drivers and another team added to the mix this week.  The * indicates which teammate posted the larger number of laps.

Driver First Day Second Day Total Laps
Jenson Button 3 (1:20.394) 1 (1:18.871) 209*
Lewis Hamilton 1 (1:23.017) 10 (1:31.633) 144
Michael Schumacher 6 (1:23.803) 5 (1:21.437) 190*
Nico Rosberg 4 (1:28.515) 5 (1:20.061) 187
Sebastian Vettel 1 (1:22.593) 3 (1:28.162) 191
Mark Webber 1 (1:19.299) 8 (1:21.194) 202*
Felipe Massa 3 (1:23.204) 5 (1:28.879) 105
Fernando Alonso 2 (1:20.115) 6 (1:20.436) 269*
Rubens Barrichello 10 (1:27.320) 1 (1:27.145) 179
Nico Hulkenberg 4 (1:21.432) 9 (1:21.919) 275*
Robert Kubica 6 (1:21.916) 2 (1:19.114) 217*
Vitaly Petrov 9 (1:26.237) 2 (1:27.828) 112
Adrian Sutil 7 (1:24.272) 7 (1:21.939) 107
Tonio Liuzzi 9 (1:30.666) 4 (1:19.650) 151*
Paul di Resta 8 (1:25.088) 7 (1:30.344) 130
Jarno Trulli 11 (1:23.470) N/A 141*
Heikki Kovalainen 12 (1:33.554) 11 (1:23.521) 98
Fairuz Fauzy 11 (1:31.848) N/A 76
Sebastien Buemi 4 (1:23.322) 11 (1:32.678) 103
Jaime Alguersuari 9 (1:22.564) 7 (1:21.053) 259*
Timo Glock 12 (1:34.453) 8(1:30.476)/10(1:22.433) 136* (3 days)
Lucas di Grassi 10 (1:23.504) N/A 34
Pedro de la Rosa 5 (1:23.367) 6 (1:29.691) 84
Kamui Kobayashi 8 (1:22.228) 3 (1:19.188) 145*

Nico Hulkenberg racked up the most laps over his two days, with 275.  Fernando Alonso was close behind with 269.  Neither were the most consistently fast driver of the test, possibly because of the number of laps and heavy fuel loads and testing tweaks incumbent in so many laps.  Jenson Button (3-1), Sebastian Vettel (1-3), Nico Rosberg (4-5), Pedro de la Rosa (5-6), Michael Schumacher (6-5), Adrian Sutil (7-7), Paul di Resta (8-7), and Heikki Kovalainen (12-11) were the most consistent drivers, with Button and Vettel tying, both men finishing first and third on their respective days.  Interestingly, Button drove on the two drier days while Vettel drove on the rainy days.

Both of these rankings suggest that Red Bull is consistently quicker than the other teams, especially in the hands of Sebastian Vettel.  Whether that translates to the racing season is still (I know, I know, annoying, isn’t it?) anybody’s guess.  Look for comparisons of all the test sessions after next week’s session in Barcelona.  With the current situations of Campos (having just been “rescued” by Jose Ramon Carbante) and USF1 (have requested the ability to miss the first four races), neither will be testing in Barcelona.  Hopefully, it won’t rain there.

To see the complete list of times from each day, click the read more link just below, and click here for my analysis of the first Jerez session at F1BClick the link in each day’s heading for the analysis from that day.

Jerez Test 2, Wednesday:
1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:22.593, 99 Laps
2. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren 1:23.017, 72 Laps
3. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:23.204, 72 Laps
4. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:23.322, 79 Laps
5. Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, 1:23.367, 76 Laps
6. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP, 1:23.803, 111 Laps
7. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:24.272, 28 Laps
8. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:25.088, 74 Laps
9. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1:26.237, 55 Laps
10. Rubens Barrichello, Williams, 1:27.320, 109 Laps
11. Fairuz Fauzy, LotusF1, 1:31.848, 76 Laps
12. Timo Glock, Virgin Racing, 1:34.453, 10 Laps

Jerez Test 2, Thursday:
1. Rubens Barrichello, Williams, 1:27.145, 70 Laps
2. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1:27.828, 57 Laps
3. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:28.162, 92 Laps
4. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:28.515, 57 Laps
5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:28.879, 33 Laps
6. Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, 1:29.691, 8 Laps
7. Paul di Resta, Force India,1:30.344, 56 Laps
8. Timo Glock, VirginRacing, 1:30.476, 98 Laps
9. Tonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:30.666, 71 Laps
10. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:31.633, 72 Laps
11. Sebastian Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:32.678, 24 Laps
12. Heikki Kovalainen, LotusF1, 1:33.554, 30 Laps

Jerez Test 2, Friday:
1. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:19.299, 115 Laps
2. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:20.115, 132 Laps
3. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:20.394, 101 Laps
4. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:21.432, 138 Laps
5. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP, 1:21.437, 79 Laps
6. Robert Kubica, Renault, 1:21.916, 100 Laps
7. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:21.939, 69 Laps
8. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:22.228, 28 Laps
9. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 1:22.564, 120 Laps
10. Lucas di Grassi, Virgin Racing, 1:23.504, 34 Laps
11. Heikki Kovalainen, LotusF1, 1:23.521, 68 Laps

Jerez Test 2, Saturday:
1. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:18.871, 108 Laps
2. Robert Kubica, Renault, 1:19.114, 117 Laps
3. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:19.188, 117 Laps
4. Tonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:19.650, 80 Laps
5. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:20.061, 130 Laps
6. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:20.436, 137 Laps
7. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 1:21.053, 139 Laps
8. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:21.194, 87 Laps
9. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:21.919, 137 Laps
10. Timo Glock, Virgin Racing, 1:22.433, 28 Laps
11. Jarno Trulli, LotusF1, 1:23.470, 141 Laps

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