• First Barcelona test, Day 4

Kobayashi ends second test on top

ESPNF1 Staff
February 24, 2012
Kamui Kobayashi completed over 670km on Friday © Sutton Images

Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest time of the week as the second test at Barcelona came to a close on Friday.

On a soft-tyre run in the morning session Kobayashi set a time of 1:22.213 and it will have been a hugely satisfying day for Sauber as Kobayashi also completed 144 laps - more than twice the race distance at the Circuit de Catalunya - before stopping with 15 minutes of the session left as the team carried out a fuel run out test. The only blip for Sauber came when Kobayashi pitted with the team's second broken exhaust of the week, but the issue was quickly repaired.

It was another impressive day for Williams too, as Pastor Maldonado followed up his quickest time on Thursday with 131 laps and the second best lap. His time of 1:22.561 was less than 0.2s slower than his previous best of the week, and over half a second quicker than Paul di Resta in third place. Di Resta was one of only three drivers to improve their best time in the afternoon as he completed a lap on supersoft tyres, but after going off in the morning session he will have been pleased to pass 100 laps.

Jenson Button was fourth quickest, with his best time of 1:23.200 just 0.081s slower than di Resta. His total of 115 laps also meant that McLaren had broken the 100-lap barrier on every day of the test, although he ended the day walking back to the pits after causing a red flag with a minute to go.

In contrast, Ferrari only reached three figures for the first time in the final twenty minutes of the test, with fifth-placed Felipe Massa eventually completing 103 laps. The team admitted it was "better late than never", and it was an encouraging end to the test as Massa was 0.2s quicker than Mark Webber's Red Bull. After a gearbox problem affected his running on Thursday, Webber only managed 85 laps in total on Friday and will hope for more mileage next week.

Jean-Eric Vergne was seventh quickest in the Toro Rosso, less than 1.5s slower than Kobayashi on a day when the top eight cars were closely matched. Nico Rosberg was just 0.051s slower than Vergne on a 1:23.843 as he improved the time he set during a busy morning.

After an engine change during the morning session Heikki Kovalainen was immediately out after lunch and recovered to complete 70 laps in the Caterham. However, he could only improve his best time by less than 0.1s and ended up 4.6s off the pace.

Marussia did not run at all during the final day as a damaged component on its right rear suspension required investigation. With conclusive results not possible before the mid-afternoon the team decided to bring an early end to its test schedule.


Driver Car Time Laps
1. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber C31 1:22.312 145
2. Pastor Maldonado Williams FW34 1:22.561 134
3. Paul di Resta Force India VJM05 1:23.119 101
4. Jenson Button McLaren MP4-27 1:23.200 115
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari F2012 1:23.563 103
6. Mark Webber Red Bull RB8 1:23.774 85
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso STR07 1:23.792 92
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes W03 1:23.843 139
9. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham CT01 1:26.968 70