Lewis Hamilton at the final Barcelona test today
The final day of testing for 2010 ended today. For the next 2 weeks, the teams will now pack up and ship their equpiment to Bahrain for the season opener. So, for the last day in Barcelona, Lewis Hamiton topped the timesheets today.
The Briton set a massive 134 laps to get a best lap time of 1.20.472. The McLaren MP4-25 today received a new set of aerodynamic updates, which shows that the pace is very good for the team. In the morning, he focused on qualifying simulation, and then moved to race simulation (complete with 2 ultra-fast pit stops) in the afternoon. He was consistently fast throughout this simulation, which is great news for him and the team.
Behind Lewis was Mark Webber, who was only 0.024 seconds behind. As opposed to other days, Sebastian Vettel drove the RB6 in the morning, then handed it over to Webber for the afternoon. Vettel dissapointed, setting only the fifth fastest time in a low-fuel run. But, it must be noted that there were faster wind speeds and dust on thr track in the morning, so there was much less grip on a track which requires perfect aero setup. Webber, on the other hand, did a mixture of short and long fuel runs, to round off the teams’ preparations for the season.
Another very close effort here, as Felipe Massa was just 0.067 off Hamilton’s best time today. Again, like the McLaren, he did short-fuel runs in the morning and race simulation in the afternoon. His race simulation was actually split up into 4 parts, which may have hampered his efforts. However, it still doesn’t quell the belief that Ferrari appears to be the strongest team after testing. Massa was very happy with testing in general, saying:
"I'm satisfied with the whole of testing, not just Barcelona.
Valencia and Jerez too - we did what we wanted to do, but it looks
like it will be a very tough and competitive championship.
We never expected to have an advantage and to go to the first race
and win in an easy way, definitely not. We expect to have a
competitive car, and this I think we have done. The car is reliable,
but also consistent, and that is what we want to start the season.
We are not here to be the champions of the pre-season.
We are here to work on the car, to try to have a good championship
and fighting for the championship."
Behind the top 3, Adrian Sutil was fourth in the Force India. His day was similar to Hamilton and Massa, so this shows significant improvement with the VJM03.
Sebastian Vettel was fifth, followed by Michael Schumacher. However, sixth wasn’t bad, seeing as he was only 0.273 seconds off Hamilton’s fastest lap. Again, his race simulation was the same as most of the other drivers.
Rubens Barrichello had an eventful day, after finishing seventh. In the morning, he spun out into the gravel, and in the afternoon stopped out on track with an unspecified problem. His best lap was only 0.398 slower than Hamilton’s.
Eighth and ninth went to Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastien Buemi respectively. Both of theses drivers focused on short-fuel runs across the day, and Buemi got a few mechanical tweaks across the day. Kobayashi was close, only 0.439 off the best time, but Buemi was 1.2 seconds behind Kobayashi.
Robert Kubica got some updates for his Renault, but was unimpressive, finishing tenth overall. The new teams completed the back again, with Heikki Kovalainen leading Lucas di Grassi this time. Kovalainen got a 1.25.251, while Di Grassi got a 1.26.160.
Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne wasn’t too downbeat over the Lotus’ lack of pace today, saying:
"It was a game of two halves as they say; we had a good morning where
we were able to complete all our plans but a problem with the
programme change on the gearbox delayed us in the afternoon, which
meant we weren't able to do as much running as we wanted.
Overall, however, the test has been extremely productive - in
general we've had very good reliability, and the team is in very
good shape going to the first race.
Considering the length of time we've had to work on the project it's
a fantastic effort from the whole team. Everyone has worked
exceptionally hard over the two tests and we now have to work on the
pace of the car and improve that, but it's been a tremendous effort
from the whole team and I'm very proud of them."
Over the next few days, I will do statistics of all of the tests, as well as the best photos and videos from the paddock, which I should have up by tonight.
|# of laps
L. di Grassi
Pictures from the final test: