- First Barcelona Test, Day Two
Perez puts McLaren on top in Barcelona
Sergio Perez set the quickest time of the second day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya after reliability issues at Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus.
Perez went 0.3s clear of the rest of the field early in the afternoon session after lapping in 1:21.848 on the soft tyre to set the fastest time of the test so far. He also managed to complete a total of 97 laps on what was a trouble-free day for McLaren compared to its rivals.
Having set the early pace on Tuesday morning, Sebastian Vettel ensured he was top of the time sheets at lunch for the second consecutive day when he set a time of 1:22.197. Vettel set the benchmark having lowered his personal best on numerous short runs on the soft tyre and would not go any lower in the afternoon as he focused on a race simulation.
Vettel appeared to struggle with the Pirelli tyres later in the day as he managed just eight and nine laps respectively during his first two race stints on the soft tyre, before switching to the hards for another short run. There was then a 45 minute spell in the garage before Vettel resumed the run, but after his next pit stop he parked the car at the end of the pit lane and caused the day's first red flag, with Max Chilton bringing a premature end to proceedings after stopping between turns 12 and 13 at the very end of the day.
Kimi Raikkonen was third quickest despite missing out on the majority of the day's running with a gearbox problem. Having completed just four laps Raikkonen was unable to return to the track until there were less than two hours left in the day, but managed to complete 43 laps with a best time of 1:22.697 set on the medium tyre.
Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a more productive day than team-mate Nico Rosberg managed on Tuesday as he was second quickest. Rosberg completed only 14 laps on the opening morning due to a gearbox problem but Hamilton was able to complete 121 without interruption and a best time of 1:22.726. Though nearly a second slower than Perez, Hamilton did set his time on the hard compound and was seen running periscopic exhaust exits at one stage in the morning.
Ferrari completed far fewer laps than on Tuesday with Fernando Alonso - who admitted he felt stiff after amassing 110 on his first day back in the car - only doing 28 in the morning as an overheating exhaust confined him to the garage for a long period before a good recovery in the afternoon. In the end he completed 76 laps with a best time of 1:23.247.
Valtteri Bottas was sixth quickest as he got his first taste of the Williams FW35 and completed 98 laps with a best time of 1:23.561. Williams focused on analysing front wings in the morning before completing set-up and tyre work in the afternoon. Few drivers managed to improve on their morning times as the teams made the most of warmer weather than Tuesday to complete long runs in the afternoon.
1. Sergio Perez (McLaren) 1:21.848, 97 laps
2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:22.197, 84 laps
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 1:22.697, 43 laps
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:22.726, 121 laps
5. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1:23.247, 76 laps
6. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:23.561, 98 laps
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 1:23.718, 70 laps
8. Paul di Resta (Force India) 1:23.971, 62 laps
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) 1:24.205, 88 laps
10. Max Chilton (Marussia) 1:25.115, 66 laps
11. Charles Pic (Caterham) 1:26.243, 102 laps