Nick Heidfeld led Day 3 in Jerez
Nick Heidfeld made the best possible application for the empty Renault seat, by leading the third day of testing in Jerez.
Fernando Alonso had led the timesheets for most of the day, but with an hour to go Heidfeld 1.20.361 lap put him on top. Michael Schumacher concentrated on long runs, and was 3rd.
Lewis Hamilton only completed 36 laps, but was still quick enough to go 4th. Kamui Kobayashi was 5th, despite causing two red flags after stopping out on track twice. Sebastian Vettel was 6th.
Sebastien Buemi caused another red flag when he Curva Angel Nieto, and could only manage 7th. Heikki Kovalainen was 8th, and Rubens Barrichello lost a lot of time with a KERS problem, demoting him to 9th.
Paul di Resta spun at the same spot as Buemi, and was 10th, while Jerome D’Ambrosio was 11th and 2.5 seconds off the Force India.
Heidfeld said he “couldn’t have done any better” with his driving today, but was still unsure would he get the drive with Renault this year. Adrian Sutil, who handed over his Force India to Di Resta today, complained about the durability of the super-soft Pirelli tyre:
"It’s a good tyre for one lap.
Sometimes you probably lose a little bit in the last sector, already, so you have a
very good first and second sector, the last one drops away, but it’s still a lap
It will be interesting how it lasts during a race distance, they’re going to be
really, really critical.
The medium (tyre) we have is different. It’s very hard, quite a lot harder, and it
doesn’t last longer, for some reason.
So it’s just very slow in the first few laps and the degradation starts very early,
still, even with the hard compound. I was not so confident on that tyre and not so
happy. it’s just the difference you have between the tyres. It’s pretty big.”
Heikki Kovalainen, meanwhile, was pleased with the progress of the Lotus car:
“The whole concept is now a modern Formula 1 car. It’s much more like a Formula 1
car should be.
The rear end is very good. The gearbox and the engine feels good, the gear-changes
and generally the rear end is working really well.
And the chassis feels like a proper Formula 1 car. It’s much, much lighter. This
time last year we were overweight, we could not take any weight out of the car.
Now we have ballast in the car – a lot of ballast.
So it’s a huge difference. I don’t know how much the chassis is lighter – I think
it’s around 20 kilos, something like that.
Of course we still need to improve and find more pace. But it’s very encouraging
what the team has been able to do in a short period of time. Of course now it gets
difficult – the last part to catch the guys ahead of us is going to be tricky.”
Times from Jerez Day 3:
Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1.20.361 86
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.20.493 0.132 131
3. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1.21.054 0.693 114
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.21.099 0.738 36
5. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.21.242 0.881 84
6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.21.574 1.213 98
7. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.21.681 1.320 92
8. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1.21.711 1.350 61
9. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.22.227 1.866 99
10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1.22.945 2.584 64
11. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1.25.471 5.110 72