26th February- Testing results: Hulkenberg puts Williams on top

The second day of the final test in Barcelona concluded with Williams’ Nico Hilkenberg on top of the timesheets.

It is believed that the German was running qualifying simulation work when he knocked Fernando Alonso off the top, in the early afternoon. Earlier in the morning, he had been doing 19 and 27 lap runs, before going on a race-type simulation.

Later in the afternoon, while all of the other teams switched to race simulation, the Hulk (a Williams nickname, not mine!) did qualifying runs, which explains his 1.20.614 lap time. Nico later spoke about his day:

"P1 today is nice but means nothing, to be honest. We're not in
Bahrain yet! It's positive for the team, and for me, to know what
the  car can do, though. "We did a lot of set-up work today and
have found some interesting  things so I feel ready and confident
to go to Bahrain now."

Williams technical director Sam Michael was similar in analysing the day:

“Nico finished his last day of winter testing today with a good run
of laps. Our programme included the evaluation of a new sidepod,
starts practice and some additional work on the set-up of the FW32.
We’re making progress, but there’s still plenty to do.”

Also, Fernando Alonso did all of today's running with a new shark fin engine cover, as well as other aerodynamic updates. Now, only Williams, Lotus and Virgin are the only teams to have not run the shark fin engine cover technique. The Spaniard eventually reached 1.20.637 with a short-fuel run near the end of the day.

Behind him, Pedro de la Rosa was third. It was another very solid day for him and the team, with short-fuel runs in the morning giving him a time of 1.20.973. He then went to race simulation in the afternoon, and his best times were in the 1.22 zone. Every day the Sauber looks better and better, and de la Rosa agrees, saying:

<pre>“Today was a very good preparation for the season’s start in Bahrain. The reliability of the car was perfect and I think the performance was also good, especially in the race simulation. It was a very good exercise and I feel we have now done everything possible to get ready for the first Grand Prix. It was also a big day for me because it has been a while since I last completed a race distance. I feel very well and also really confident now.”
</pre>

Vitantonio Liuzzi was 4th for Force India. Then the order was Vettel, Alguersuari, Schumacher, Hamilton, Kubica, Trulli and Glock. The Lotus of Trulli was still very slow today, as he reported the car as being 4 seconds off the pace of the leaders. His fastest lap was 1.25.524 after 70 laps. Timo Glock was similarly slow, with a 1.25.942 after 52 laps.

Two drivers who seemed off the pace today were Schuamcher and Hamilton. However, neither of these drivers went for low-fuel runs, and solely did race simulations, which explains their lack of fast laps. Schumacher had a raft of aerodynamic updates, and also worked on pit-stops and practice starts.

Robert Kubica also had his fair share of problems. His Renault R30 suffered suspension problems in the afternoon. Alan Permane explained this problem:

“Robert was in the car today for his first laps at Barcelona in the
R30. We spent the morning doing some set-up work, but in the
afternoon we had a problem with the suspension, which limited our
running. We’re still looking into the issue and will have the car
fixed and ready for tomorrow morning.”

Times from today:


Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference
# of laps
1. N. Hulkenberg Williams FW32 1.20.614 99
2. F. Alonso Ferrari F10 1.20.637 +0.023 134
3. P. de la Rosa Sauber C29 1.20.973 +0.359 114
4. V. Liuzzi F. India VJM03 1.21.056 +0.442 90
5. S. Vettel Red Bull RB6 1.21.258 +0.644 125
6. J.Alguersuari T. Rosso STR5 1.21.571 +0.957 104
7. M. Schumacher Mercedes W01 1.21.689 +1.075 85
8.

9.

10.

11.

L. Hamilton

R. Kubica

J. Trulli

T. Glock

McLaren

Renault

Lotus

Virgin

MP4-25

R30

T127

VR-01

1.22.152

1.24.912

1.25.524

1.25.942

+1.538

+4.298

+4.910

+5.328

93

53

70

52

Pictures from today's test:

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